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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-03344: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 29 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to increasing incentives for trainee surgeons to take up placements in rural and remote hospitals.

Answered by: Shona Robison 27 October 2016

As part of ongoing analysis of the annual outcome of Trainee recruitment and selection in Scotland, the Scottish Government discusses with NHS Education for Scotland(NES) whether different approaches may be required to make training posts more attractive, while being mindful of the need for every post to provide the educational experiences and opportunities that fulfil the educational standards required by the General Medical Council.

We are clear that more innovation and flexibility in our recruitment approaches for Trainees is needed, and to then retain them upon completion of training. A key challenge is to ensure that surgical teams in remote areas can maintain their skills when patient numbers are small, and this is being addressed by developing networks between rural and urban hospitals. In a highly competitive recruitment environment for medical trainees where multiple choices exist, the Scottish Government is clear that concerted efforts are needed by NES, Health boards and Medical Royal Colleges to make training posts as educationally attractive as possible, that offer the job flexibilities and enhanced skill opportunities Trainees now seek, and where appropriate offer local recruitment incentives to Trainees. In remote and rural circumstances, such incentives might include offering assistance towards accommodation costs, employment offers to partners, travel and subsistence to attend learning events.

There is widespread recognition of the need for transformational change to enhance the quality of care, improve outcomes and ensure we have a sustainable service for all. As implementation of the National Clinical Strategy progresses, it is inevitable that the restructuring of service provision at national, regional and local levels will drive new approaches to how surgical training is configured, and the new national and regional workforce planning system will need to ensure training placements adapt to such change.