Majority of EM training posts vacant

TWO thirds of emergency medicine training posts in Scotland have been left vacant, prompting NHS chiefs to advertise abroad.

NHS figures for June show that just six out of 21 training positions had been filled. There were similar problems in recruitment in child and adolescent psychiatry with only five out of 13 jobs taken, while nine of 22 were filled in acute medicine.

Job adverts have since been placed in Europe, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia in a bid to plug the gaps.

It comes as Health Education England and the College of Emergency Medicine confirmed low recruitment levels have prompted them to recruit doctors from India and Dubai to work in hospital emergency departments in England, beginning in November.

A spokesman for NHS Education for Scotland (NES) told BMJ Careers there had been “particular issues” with recruitment to third year specialty posts (ST3) in acute medicine and ST4 in emergency medicine across the UK.

He said the Scottish Government had asked NES to recruit internationally for these specialties, with the added option of a further recruitment round if necessary for a February 2015 start date.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “While there are some issues recruiting in a limited number of specialties, this issue is not unique to Scotland, and we are working closely with NHS boards to support their staff recruitment efforts.

"Recruitment to training grade posts is done as part of a regional or national exercise, with candidates sought from Scotland, the UK, and abroad.”

Kevin Reynard, dean of the College of Emergency Medicine, said more than 30 trainees had already been recruited in India.

He added: "There’s significant efforts and expense being made trying to recruit these people, and I think that shows the seriousness with which HEE and the Department of Health, in conjunction with the College, are placing on trying to remedy the workforce issues."