• STV
  • MySTV

Shortage of doctors 'putting children's health at risk'

Study suggests Scotland's paediatric sector is on the brink of a recruitment crisis.

Medic: Report states 82 additional doctors are needed (file pic).
Medic: Report states 82 additional doctors are needed (file pic). Fotolia / Adobe Stock

The health of Scottish children is at risk because of a shortage of paediatric doctors, a new report has warned.

A study by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) found the paediatric workforce in Scotland is on the brink of a recruitment crisis and needs to increase the number of doctors by a quarter to cope.

Recruitment of consultant paediatricians in Scotland lags behind England, with the number of doctors increasing by 5% between 2015 and 2017 compared to 8.2% south of the border.

To deliver the required standards of care to children and young people, the number of paediatric consultants must rise by 25% or 82 doctors, according to the RCPCH.

General paediatricians, who care for children from birth to late adolescence, are the biggest area of the shortfall, accounting for more than half of the extra recruitment needed.

The RCPCH report calls for funding for an extra year of GP training to include paediatric and child health training for all trainees, in addition to financial incentives to attract and retain paediatricians, particularly in remote or rural areas.

Professor Steve Turner, Officer for Scotland at the RCPCH, said: "Tackling the shortage of paediatric doctors needs to be a priority. We know that unless more doctors are trained to be paediatricians today, the situation where paediatric wards are being closed will only get worse.

"The good news is that we know that Scottish doctors want to train in paediatrics in Scotland, and there are three young doctors applying for each job.

"We also know that doctors who train in Scotland become consultants in Scotland. However, the reality is that we are seeing vacancies and gaps in rotas across Scotland, especially in centres outside of the central belt."

Labour's shadow health secretary Monica Lennon said: "This expert report is a vitally important intervention that demands a serious response from the Government.

"Our NHS is facing a workforce crisis, with not enough staff to deliver the care patients deserve - and people will be shocked to see that this extends to the care of our children.

"The frank truth is there has been a total sense of complacency from the Government on the staffing problems our NHS faces."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The health of our children is paramount, that is why we have more than doubled the number of paediatric consultants under this government to 355, and increased the number of paediatric nurses by more than 40% in the last eight years.

"We have worked closely with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to agree the appropriate and sustainable paediatric trainee supply.

"As the report highlights, we have acknowledged the need to increase the number of paediatric trainees and have provided 18 additional posts approved since 2014, achieving a 100% fill rate in recent recruitment rounds."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.