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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-18699: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 September 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking in response to recent data that shows that the number of NHS consultant positions vacant for more than six months has risen.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 27 September 2018

The funded establishment of consultants has increased by some 46.1% under this government (September 2006 – June 2018). The Scottish Government remains fully committed to a sustainable NHS and its workforce, which continues to deliver a consistently high quality health service to the people of Scotland.

We recognise the recruitment challenges faced by NHS Scotland boards in certain shortage clinical specialties and we are supporting a range of initiatives to promote recruitment and retention across our clinical workforces, including investing over
‎ £4 million in NHS Scotland recruitment campaigns over the next three years. A component of this investment will support activity to recruit further consultant grade specialists. Additionally, I have recently commenced discussions with the British Medical Association in relation to on-going workforce needs and future workforce supply; further discussions are planned.

We encourage all NHS Boards, as employers, to exercise discretion to offer flexibility within the consultant terms and conditions of service, in particular on job planning and programmed activities, to help attract staff in areas of clinical shortage.