South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway GP recruitment alarm sounded

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Two politicians have called for action over GP recruitment problems being faced in Dumfries and Galloway.

SNP MP Richard Arkless and Conservative MSP Finlay Carson recently had talks with the region's medical director Dr Angus Cameron.

Mr Arkless said urgent action was needed to tackle an "impasse" in recruitment.

However, Mr Carson said it was the SNP that needed to act to help address the situation.

Mr Arkless said there were more than a dozen vacancies already, with more than a quarter of GPs due to retire in the next 10 years.

He said more needed to be done to attract doctors to the region.

"It was good to meet with Dr Cameron to find out what attempts have been made to attract GPs to live and work in Dumfries and Galloway," he said.

"I was pleased to hear about the online recruitment campaign that has been running and the trade fairs that Dr Cameron had personally attended to talk to doctors who may have not previously considered working in Dumfries and Galloway.

"Dr Cameron also discussed how we could generally offer professionals a more attractive package.

"I agreed with him that there was a lot that could be done to sell everything that we have on offer in Dumfries and Galloway to attract more skilled doctors, dentists and teachers."

'Cost burden'

However, Mr Arkless said that doctors were still failing to apply for vacant positions.

"This situation has been at an impasse for many months and further steps must now be urgently taken to ensure the continuity of primary care services throughout our region," he said.

He said the region had "so much to offer" and said he would be happy to play a part in talking to potential recruits to encourage them to come to south west Scotland.

Mr Carson said the Scottish government needed to act on the situation.

"Measures taken by the SNP so far have been nothing like enough," he said.

"More needs to be done to assist rural practices with the cost burden of recruitment.

"During a recent meeting with the medical director, Angus Cameron, I reiterated the concerns of local doctors and constituents, and put forward some of their suggestions about how to ease the current situation."

He said he had been assured NHS Dumfries and Galloway would do what it could to assist local practices.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway declined to comment on the issue.

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