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Another fall in student doctors as consultant vacancies rise

The number of doctors in training under the SNP has fallen again and consultant vacancies are up, suggesting a fresh staffing crisis is facing Scotland’s NHS.

Figures released today have shown there are 5946 doctors in training across the country, a 0.3 per cent drop from the same point last year.

This is despite repeated warnings that the SNP government needs to significantly increase the number of people in medical school, to prevent current workforce challenges from getting worse.

And those very challenges were exposed today, with figures showing there are 452 consultant vacancies in the country’s hospitals.

That’s a seven per cent increase from March 2018, and more than half of those positions have been lying empty for more than six months.

The SNP government committed last summer to attracting more Scots to study medicine.

But today’s statistics show that drive has failed to increase the overall number of doctors in training.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“Scotland has been experiencing an NHS staffing crisis for several years now and, under this SNP government, continues to do so.

“These figures show that crisis is set to continue for as long as the nationalists have control of the health service.

“They have been warned repeatedly about the shortage of doctors both in hospitals and in local practices.

“Yet they’ve done nothing to address that, and still the number of doctors in training continues to fall.

“This is a clapped-out SNP government with no work ethic, no ideas and no desire to make things better.

“It must be turfed out at the next election.”



Notes to editors:


The full statistics are available here:

The number of Scottish students accessing medical courses fell, with the SNP government committing to improve that picture last summer:


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