Date lodged: 29 September 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with NHS boards to increase the number of surgeons working in rural areas.
Answered by: Shona Robison 27 October 2016
Consultant numbers in NHS Scotland are at a record high, with 5,202.3 WTE in place - a 43.1% increase under this Government.
While the Scottish Government provides the policies, frameworks and resources for high quality healthcare, it is for each NHS board to plan its workforce to meet the needs of its population.
We are fully committed to providing sustainable, high quality patient-centred services in remote and rural areas, ensuring that care is delivered as close to the patient as possible when appropriate. That is why we are supporting the development of flexible networks between rural and urban hospitals.
Patient safety is, and will remain, paramount. We have committed to placing our innovative workforce planning tools on a statutory footing to ensure safe and sustainable staffing levels, including within remote and rural areas. Work will begin this year to consult with stakeholders on how best to take forward our commitment.