NHS Education for Scotland has announced the creation of 100 further GP trainee places which will begin in February 2017.
The organisation is also offering £20,000 payments for trainees agreeing to undertake training in 37 hard-to-fill locations in rural and remote areas.
The 100 new places created will increase the total number of GP training places in Scotland to 439, following the main recruitment round which took place earlier this year.
However, it is still debatable whether this is sufficient to meet demand for NHS services north of the border.
Places on the trainee scheme will be advertised on behalf of Scottish health boards, with the application process open until 25th August.
This comes after applications for training places increased by 27% this year, although the number of vacancies in GP practices remains somewhat worrying.
Over 25% of practices in Scotland currently have a vacancy for a doctor.
Health secretary Shona Robison opined that general practice is at “the heart of our NHS, and is becoming ever more important”.
The prominent politician outlined the plans of the government for Scotland
“That is why we are investing to recruit more junior doctors into GP training posts – with 100 extra places advertised this year to help build the primary care workforce of the future. However, we know there are some parts of the country that have challenges recruiting – mainly because of their geographical location. So we’re offering a financial incentive with certain posts to fill these vital training places.”
A statement by NHS Education for Scotland reflected on the new policy.
“The Scottish Government and NHS Education Scotland drive aims to highlight the benefits of living and working as a GP in Scotland. A series of adverts and a social media campaign will run to raise awareness of the opportunities that medical training in Scotland provides.”
Dr Miles Mack, chair of RCGP Scotland, was positive about the announcement.
“We are delighted to see the expansion of GP specialty training numbers as it is through increasing the size of the GP workforce that we can meet the needs of patients across Scotland.”
There are approximately 157,000 NHS staff in Scotland for a population of 5,295,400.
Of approximately £34.7 billion controlled by the Scottish Government, around £11.9 billion is spent on health.