Highlands and Islands MSP, David Stewart has tabled two Parliamentary Questions in the Scottish Parliament relating to the GP ‘golden hello’ initiative introduced by the Government.
The incentive has been hailed by the Government as a good example, evidencing their efforts to address the GP shortage in rural areas in particular.
The scheme will offer the one off bursary of £20,000 to GP trainees committed to working in areas that in the past has proven difficult to recruit to.
David Stewart said: “ This is obviously a step in the right direction, but I am extremely disappointed that so few of these posts have been allocated in the North.
“Indeed as I understand it, there have been two posts offered in the Highlands and three in the North East, but what about our islands?
“I know from visiting our island communities that they are struggling to recruit GP’s.
“Indeed, in one North Island off Shetland, there is a GP Practice that should have two GP’s, but for a long time there is only one and this GP is wishing to retire in the near future.
“What do NHS Shetland and the community do about this? Surely this was an ideal opportunity to do something about GP coverage in these remote communities.”
The Questions put by the Highlands and Islands MSP are: To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to encourage newly trained GP’s to relocate to NHS Shetland, Orkney or Western Isles
To ask the Scottish Government why no places have been allocated for newly trained GP’s under their golden hello scheme to NHS Shetland, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles
Mr Stewart concluded: “The Government need to realise that areas that really need support and help in recruiting GPs are scattered mainly around the North of Scotland and our islands.
“ With this example of how they propose tackling the GP shortage, they set up an initiative to try and address this issue, but they allocate no bursaries for any trainee GP to commit to a hard to fill role in any one of our remote areas or our islands.”