Junior doctors attracted to Scotland

More doctors recruited to more training posts.

More than 5,700 junior doctors will be training in Scotland this year, new figures published today show.

Data from NHS Education Scotland show that currently over 96% of all medical training posts in Scotland have been filled through recruitment for the 2016/17 academic year.

The number of foundation level doctors applying to train in the NHS north of the border increased by 27%, with an increase in the number of students choosing Scotland as their first preference.

At core training level - doctors who have been graduated for up to two years - there was a 13% increase in posts advertised and a 7% rise in numbers recruited.

At higher specialty training level - doctors who have been graduated for four to five years - there was an 11% increase in posts advertised and an 18% rise in numbers recruited.

Health Secretary Shona Robison welcomed the figures and said they showed the continuing popularity of Scotland’s NHS as a destination for world-class medical training.

Ms Robison said: “Scotland has long had a strong record of delivering high quality medical training, as well as fantastic academic research and development opportunities.

“As a Government we continue to maintain strong, positive relationships with the profession and enjoy a collaborative working relationship. Junior doctors are valued members of our healthcare team and are integral to our continuing drive to improve care in the NHS.

“These figures show increasing numbers of junior doctors are choosing Scotland’s NHS as the place to begin their careers, and it is extremely welcome to see that more training posts have been filled this year.

“However, there do still remain challenges in attracting interest to particular specialties – chiefly GP and mental health specialties.

“That is why we are taking forward a range of actions focussed on attracting trainees into these specialties and to ensure that the training they receive is of the highest quality.

“A key aspect of our work is to better understand the views and needs of junior doctors, with the aim of developing more flexible and attractive training opportunities.

“We are also taking forward a package of measures to increase the supply of doctors and widen access to medical education in Scotland, including the addition of 50 more medical undergraduate places and the recent announcement of Scotland’s first graduate entry programme for medicine delivered by the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee, in collaboration with the NHS and the University of the Highlands and Islands.”

Professor Stewart Irvine, Director of Medicine and Deputy Chief Executive at NHS Education for Scotland said: "Scotland has a proud medical heritage and offers world-class medical education and training through our five medical schools and our NHS postgraduate medical training programmes. Earlier this year, Scotland was praised for its strengths in NHS education by the independent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

"Our aim is to provide excellence in health and care for the people of Scotland through high quality education, training and development. We are aware that we face recruitment and retention challenges in some specialties and some areas and are continuing work to understand the key concerns of doctors in training, to constantly improve our training offer and to attract the next generation of doctors to live, work and train in Scotland.”

Notes to editors

The NHS Education Scotland figures can be viewed here: http://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/education-and-training/by-discipline/medicine/about-medical-training/careers-and-recruitment/2016-recruitment-data.aspx

  • At foundation level, NHS Scotland received 884 first preference applications for 790 places in 2016 - compared with 696 first preference applications for 785 posts in 2015.
  • At core and run through training level (which includes general practice) 718 doctors have been recruited to 850 posts in 2016 - compared with 668 doctors recruited to 750 posts in 2015. Almost all Core training programmes achieved a 100% fill rate.
  • At higher specialty training level, 266 doctors were recruited to 374 posts in 2016 – compared with 226 doctors recruited to 335 posts in 2015.

Any unfilled vacancies at the end of the national recruitment process – as well as vacancies which arise following completion of the process - are passed to health boards to fill through local action.

A further 100 GP training posts will be advertised through an additional round of GP recruitment later in the summer, meaning 439 GP posts will have been advertised in Scotland this year.

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