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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-13301

  • Asked by: Edward Mountain, MSP for Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 16 December 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 11 January 2023


To ask the Scottish Government when all six rural hospitals in Scotland each will have three general surgery consultants.


While the Scottish Government provides the policies, frameworks and resources for high quality healthcare, it is for each NHS Board to decide best how to utilise funding, facilities and staff while taking account of national and local priorities to meet local health needs.

We will develop a Remote and Rural workforce recruitment strategy by the end of 2024. This will support employers to ensure that the Health and Social Care needs of people who live in remote and rural communities are met.

As part of the Scottish Government’s work to develop a sustainable healthcare workforce, we continue to look for opportunities to increase levels of recruitment and retention of healthcare staff in rural areas.

The number of doctors in training is also up 24.3% under the SNP - or 1,295.6 WTE (from 5,336.1 WTE as at September 2006 to 6,631.7 WTE as at Sept 2022). And we have now created the biggest ever expansion of medical training posts – 152 places at £37m over the next four years to help future-proof our NHS. This equates to 2.5% increase in WTE workforce of 6,100 trainees – who make up 42% of doctors in hospitals. This brings the total number of additional places created by Scottish ministers to 725, since 2014.

In all areas of NHS Scotland, a great deal of effort is going into ensuring that services have sufficient capacity to deal with COVID-19, manage other risks and resume planned services as safely and effectively as possible. This includes ensuring that there are sufficient levels of consultant, including general surgeons.