Docs at a ‘new low’

MSP blames staffing cri­sis

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - War­ren Hardie

The num­ber of Forth Val­ley ju­nior doc­tors has hit a four-year low, ac­cord­ing to new NHS fig­ures.

As of Septem­ber, 2018, there were 190 doc­tors in train­ing across the Forth Val­ley, 6.4 per cent fewer than the pre­vi­ous year.

De­spite a 4.4 per cent rise on the last quar­ter, the fig­ures from the last 11 months are still the low­est since 2013-2014.

The drop comes as bod­ies such as the trade union BMA Scot­land warn of wors­en­ing staff short­ages in the NHS.

Mid-Scot­land and Fife MSP Dean Lock­hart has blamed the num­bers on a na­tion­wide ‘GP cri­sis,’ due to the “chaotic work­force plan­ning” of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.

He said: “These fig­ures are go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion at the worst pos­si­ble time. We are in the grip of a GP cri­sis, while hospi­tals right across the coun­try are strug­gling for doc­tor num­bers. But in­stead of in­creas­ing the num­ber of doc­tors in train­ing, the SNP gov­ern­ment now finds they are at a fouryear low.”

Health Sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man has com­mented: “Over­all NHS Scot­land med­i­cal and den­tal staff num­bers are at a record high, while the num­ber of doc­tors in train­ing has in­creased by more than 10 per cent un­der this gov­ern­ment.”

“We are work­ing to in­crease the num­ber of GPs by at least 800 over 10 years, in­clud­ing steps to sup­port re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of GPs in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing £10,000 pay­ments to GPs tak­ing up posts in ru­ral prac­tices for the first time and sup­port with re­lo­ca­tion costs. We have also suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­ated a new GP con­tract, backed by in­vest­ment of £110 mil­lion this year, to sta­bilise in­come, re­duce work­load, and im­prove pa­tient care.”

NHS Forth Val­ley have also stressed that the new fig­ures show an in­crease in staff di­rectly em­ployed by the health board.

Fig­ures go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion

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