Scottish government must act to fill consultant vacancies, says BMA

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  06 Sep 2017

The Scottish government must act now to fill vacancies in the consultant workforce, the BMA has said.

Figures published by Information Services Division Scotland on 5 September showed that 476.4 whole time equivalent (WTE) consultant posts were vacant as of 30 June, representing 8.5% of all posts. Of the posts that were vacant, 228.9 (48%) had been vacant for more than six months.[1]

From June 2016 to June 2017 the number of vacant WTE consultant posts increased by 15%, from 414.2 in 2016 to 476.4 in 2017, the data showed. And the number of posts that were vacant for more than six months increased by 21.3% over the same period, from 188.7 to 228.9.

From June 2016 to June 2017 the number of WTE consultants in post increased by 1.2%, from 5077 to 5139.5.

Simon Barker, chair of the BMA’s Scottish consultants committee, said that the figures highlighted “the Scottish government’s refusal to recognise the year on year deterioration in consultant recruitment and retention.” He said that the Scottish government needed to recognise that creating consultant posts was not enough, as they also needed to be filled.

“If we are to continue to offer comprehensive high quality care it is imperative that the Scottish government acts now, working with BMA Scotland, to demonstrate to existing consultants that they are valued—and to make new posts attractive so that we can continue to provide the kind of health service that our patients deserve,” he said.


  1. Information Services Division Scotland. NHS Scotland workforce information: quarterly update of staff in post and vacancies at 30 June 2017. 5 Sept 2017. [Link] .

Abi Rimmer The BMJ

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: