Date lodged: 7 March 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what action is it taking to ensure that NHS boards recruit a sufficient number of consultant ophthalmology posts to meet rising demand, in light of the recent Workforce Census for 2018, published by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, which showed that NHS boards in Scotland are recruiting or planning to advertise for 11 consultant ophthalmology posts compared with an "ideal" number of 23.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 18 March 2019
Under this government, the number of Consultants in NHS Scotland has increased by 51.3% to record high levels, with the number of ophthalmology consultants increasing by 45.5% over the same period (Sep-06 to Sep-18). The rate of ophthalmology vacancies has also seen a downward trend over the past two years. The number of Consultants specialising in Ophthalmology who are employed by each Board in NHS Scotland, and the current vacancy picture, is available on the ISD website: https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Workforce/Publications/2018-12-04/Medical-and-Dental.asp .
NHSScotland Boards have fully delegated powers in relation to employment issues. They are required to have the correct staff in place to meet the needs of the service and to ensure high quality patient care. It is for individual health boards to make decisions on the creation of posts and filling of vacancies to meet the needs of the service.
To support Boards, the Scottish Government has invested £4 million pound in domestic and international recruitment efforts across NHS Scotland over the next 3 years.