The NHS is looking to recruit more GPs from the EU, as Dumfries and Galloway becomes the latest area to look to the continent to resolve urgent recruitment woes.
The local health board has enlisted Yorkshire-based Templars Medical Agency to help in its search for EU doctors as part of its bid to fill 20 empty posts, reports the Daily Record.
Shadow health minister and South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said that without a resolution to the workforce crisis, GP surgeries in the region would be forced to close.
He said: ‘We have already seen GP practices merge in the region and some outreach surgeries being scrapped as a result of the chronic shortage of doctors. If the Government do not take more action it will only be a matter of time until more GP surgeries close their doors across Dumfries and Galloway.’
NHS Dumfries and Galloway health board, which is also launching a local trainee recruitment campaign, said there had recently been some respite in their GP search, with four out of the 20 posts expected to be filled by September.
But the spokesperson added: ‘We recognise this is a challenge and are making plans to recruit more GPs to the area.
‘We aim, with help from the Scottish Government, to develop an improved process for attracting doctors from abroad and then providing an induction period so they are able to provide high-quality general practice.’
A spokesperson told Pulse: ‘NHS Dumfries and Galloway can confirm that we are developing an improved process for attracting doctors from abroad.’
It comes as south of the border, NHS England already has a plan to recruit 500 GPs from overseas, with Lincolnshire leading the way with a pilot scheme.