A much- trumpeted government “golden hello” to attract GPs to the north of Scotland is available for only five trainees out of 37. The one-off bursary of £20,000 was planned to encourage family doctors to work in rural areas. Now, it is only offered to three posts in NHS Grampian and two posts in the NHS Highland.
In August 2016, the Scottish Government announced 100 additional training posts, 37 of which would come with the £20,000 bonus. It was an attempt to increase numbers of GPs in ‘hard to fill’ posts like in remote, rural and deprived areas.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, the health secretary said the trainee scheme is a step in the right direction but he is very disappointed with the number of bursary post available in north of Scotland. The difficulty remains same in finding GPs for many of rural, remote areas including Lochaber, Shetland, Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney and the Western Isles. In his recent visit, he found local practices struggling with the recruitment of GPs.
Chair of Scottish GPC, Dr Alan McDevitt said vacant training places are a big challenge especially in remote and more deprived practices. The bursary is a move towards filling at least some of the trainee places that are having difficulty in recruiting GPs.
A spokeperson for the Scottish Government said the 37 training places with additional bursary were chosen because the government had failed to attract candidates for three years in a row.
Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing said Scottish government had considerably increased the number of new training places for GPs across Scotland this year.
She further added that 100 additional GP training posts is to encourage trainee doctors to choose career in General practice and to make a GP a more attractive option. The government is also funding the initiatives to attract established GPs to return to practice.
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