South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway health service recruitment remains 'key challenge'

Dumfries Infirmary Image copyright Paul McMullin
Image caption NHS Dumfries and Galloway continues to face significant recruitment challenges

A health board chief executive has said recruitment remains the single biggest issue facing the service.

Jeff Ace said it would be the number one priority in Dumfries and Galloway for the financial year ahead.

He said workforce remained the "key challenge" facing the region despite efforts to attract staff.

Mr Ace added that it was "critically important" to both patients and current employees that they continued to work to bring people to the area.

'Resilient workforce'

He said they were struggling to recruit GPs and consultants and also other health professionals and nursing staff.

"We are finding a real difficulty in attracting people into the area," he said.

"That has to be our number one risk at the moment on the corporate risk register - establishing that resilient workforce."

Mr Ace said the issue affected everyone.

'Key priority'

"It is critically important to our patients, to the population, that we can fully staff our services," he said.

"It is also really important to the staff that we do have that they are not trying to cover gaps or working with rapidly changing locum staff.

"So recruitment, retention of staff and really making Dumfries and Galloway's profile in the rest of the UK and internationally as high as it can be is, I think, our key priority for next year."

Mr Ace said he believed Brexit would be "very bad news" for the health board in recruitment terms.

"I guess there is not a lot I can do to influence it," he admitted.

"So what we have to do is simply look at how we work around it and try and minimise the damage to our ability to recruit."

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