Professor Jackie Taylor, the President Elect of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, has called on the Scottish Government to set out its plans to address the current serious workforce challenges facing the NHS in Scotland.
Speaking at a fringe event at the SNP Conference this week, the senior clinician highlighted recent Scottish findings from the annual physicians’ census which showed potentially dangerous rota gaps in Scottish hospitals, and offered the College’s support in finding solutions.
Addressing Jeane Freeman MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in a meeting attended by over 100 SNP activists and a range of health organisations based in Scotland, Professor Taylor said:
“A piece of research that the Royal Colleges recently commissioned showed that 43 percent of consultants and 63 percent of doctors in training report rota gaps. This is when there aren’t enough doctors on call at that particular time: that has implications for patient safety, and also major implications for the wellbeing of the workforce. 1 in 5 doctors report features of burnout.
“Worryingly, about 40 percent of the consultant physician workforce in Scotland will reach retirement age within the next ten years. So I appreciate that we’re trying to grow the workforce, but my question is, what strategies do the ministers have for the short-term, and would they welcome some interaction with the colleges to try and find some practical solutions?”
At the meeting the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport welcomed the offer of dialogue with the college and others to try to identify solutions to the issues raised.
Speaking after the event, Professor Taylor said:
“We know that one of the major concerns our membership has are the current workforce shortages in the NHS, and the impact this is having today on patient care and the wellbeing of doctors at all levels. That’s why I welcome the positive response from the new Cabinet Secretary this week, and look forward to opening these discussions in the near future.
“Today’s health service is not short of challenges, so I look forward to engaging with government and MPs and MSPs of all parties to develop practical solutions that will benefit our membership, patients and the NHS as a whole.”