YOUNG doctors from across the world are being encouraged to come to work in Scotland to help plug gaps in the workforce, the health secretary has said.
Alex Neil said the Scottish Government was hoping to attract more medical students and junior doctors by reducing bureaucracy and promoting the benefits of training in Scotland.
He said he was “not fussy” where they came from, so long as they spoke the language, were well qualified and could do the job. It comes after some hospitals have already been forced to look abroad to help fill vacancies in their medical staff.
Speaking at the NHS Scotland conference at the SECC in Glasgow, Mr Neil said: “There is a particular ambition I have to make Scotland the best place in the world for junior doctors to train, to live and to build their medical careers.
“We want to promote Scotland as a beacon of medical excellence and to continue to attract the brightest and the best.”
Mr Neil said they had already taken action to reduce the bureaucracy over visa applications for overseas medics which he said would reduce the administration and financial burden on junior doctors and their families.
Mr Neil highlighted gaps in the medical workforce in areas such as A&E which more doctors were needed to help fill.
“What we are very keen to do – and there are signs of success in a number of initiatives already being taken – is attract junior doctors to Scotland,” he said.
In response to his speech, Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw urged Mr Neil to explain why the ratio of GPs to patients in Scotland had declined dramatically. “Could also try and explain why so many consultants’ posts remain unfilled for so long,” Mr Carlaw added.
A British Medical Association Scotland spokeswoman said:“We need to attract doctors to train and work Scotland, but we also need to keep them here.”