NHS Tayside say they are launching a new recruitment campaign for consultant psychiatrists this month.
At a full council meeting this week, a discussion surrounding Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) was side-tracked when one councillor called into question the local health board’s recruitment efforts.
Strathallan ward councillor Crawford Reid suggested that NHS Tayside were short of consultant psychiatrists, and expressed his concern that he had not seen any job advertisements in the British Medical Journal this year.
This follows the revelation that health board bosses had not met their quota for filling psychiatric positions and Ministers had been urged to intervene.
The Conservative said: “There is without doubt a national shortage of consultants, but for the last eight months I have been looking in my copy of the British Medical Journal and there hasn’t been one advert for an NHS Tayside consultant psychiatrist.
“Unless you advertise for these people, you’re not ever going to get them. One of the roles of the consultant is the training of junior medical staff.
“Without adequate numbers of consultants, it is highly likely that the General Medical Council will visit Tayside and take away all their trainees in both psychiatry and general medical practice.
“That would be an absolute disaster and I hope we can put pressure on NHS Tayside to attempt to fill these posts as a matter of severe urgency.”
Dr Reid, a medical professional specialising in anaesthesia, said after the meeting that he hoped to be proved wrong and just wanted vacancies filled.
His comments were contested by SNP group leader Grant Laing.
He said he was “really concerned” about Councillor Reid’s allegations and asked to fact-check the claims, requesting to see the copies of the publication.
“I wouldn’t want councillors at PKC to run NHS Tayside’s HR,” he added.
Dr Mike Winter, associate medical director for mental health and learning disabilities, explained that the health board would be starting a recruitment drive this month, something they had been planning prior to the topic being raised.
He said: “Like many other health boards, NHS Tayside is affected by a national shortage in some specialist services and professions, including consultant psychiatrists.
“We have recently recruited and retained a number of regular locum consultants to cover vacant posts within the mental health and learning disability service.
“As part of NHS Tayside’s ongoing mental health and learning disability service redesign, we are working closely with staff within our inpatient and community services in Tayside to develop new workforce models.
“Recruitment for vacancies in NHS Tayside are advertised using a range of channels, including the British Medical Journal, and we will be embarking on a new recruitment campaign for consultant psychiatrists vacancies later this month.
“Our first key new appointment will be for an associate medical director role which is currently being advertised.”