Latest recruitment rates released by NHS Education for Scotland show that 97% of all medical training posts in Scotland in 2017 are currently filled.
The speciality areas of gastroenterology, haematology, palliative medicine, respiratory medicine and rheumatology show 100% fill rates and recruitment to posts in cardiology, paediatrics, urology, endocrinology and diabetes are also high.
Excellent improvements have also been seen in emergency medicine, where a 73% fill rate has been recorded compared to 31% in 2016; and in core psychiatry where 87% of all posts filled, compared to 69% in 2016.
It is encouraging there is an improvement in the GP trainee fill rate from last year, but challenges remain to make further improvements in both GP recruitment and in certain diagnostic specialties.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
“These latest recruitment rates for our medical trainee posts are very encouraging and reflect our reputation as a country which delivers a first class medical education with flexible and attractive training opportunities too.
“We do recognise however that there are on-going challenges in recruitment to certain medical specialties and in geographical areas, and we are continuing to pursue these as innovatively and actively as we can.
“We’ve introduced initiatives to support doctors interested in pursuing a career as a GP, have widened access to a medical education for those from deprived backgrounds and recently announced Scotland’s first graduate-level medicine course offering a new route into medicine for existing graduates from any discipline with an interest in pursuing a degree in medicine. This course will have a focus on increasing experience in community-based practice, including rural health care locations, to better promote the quality and diversity available in general practitioner training”.
NHS Education for Scotland Medical Director Stewart Irvine said:
“We continue to be in a challenging and competitive environment to recruit junior doctors to Scotland. Our supportive and flexible approach offers trainees exceptional scope for personal development and trainee surveys rank GP training in Scotland well
“Although in many areas we have filled more posts than before, this has been offset by an increase in the total number of posts on offer. We will continue to work with partners to promote NHSScotland for all specialties.
“In addition to our formal recruitment activity, NES carries out a range of activities to attract junior doctors and qualified GPs to work in Scotland. We promote Scotland as a training destination for trainees from many countries, including targetted Facebook advertising and video case studies about the benefits of training and working in Scotland. We also run a ‘GP Returners’ programme for qualified GPs who have been out of the profession or working in other countries and make it easier for non-EU doctors to work in NHSScotland by providing visa sponsorship and monitoring.”