Latest recruitment figures, released by NHS Education for Scotland (NES), 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.
Kenneth Gibson 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.
“The SNP Government recognises however that there are on-going challenges in recruitment to certain medical specialties and in geographical areas, and is continuing to pursue these as innovatively and actively as possible.
“GP trainee fill rates have improved since last year but challenges remain to make further improvements in both GP recruitment and in certain diagnostic specialties.
“Initiatives to support doctors interested in pursuing a career as a GP have widened access to a medical education for those from deprived backgrounds as will Scotland’s first graduate-level course offering a new route into medicine for existing graduates from any discipline with an interest in pursuing a medical degree. This course will 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 added:
"We continue to be in a competitive environment in relation to recruiting junior doctors in Scotland. Our supportive and flexible approach offers trainees exceptional scope for personal development and trainee surveys rank GP training in Scotland highly.
"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. 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 targeted 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 NHS Scotland by providing visa sponsorship and monitoring." NES report