THE head of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland has called for more support to help retain NHS Scotland doctors amid staff shortages.

Dr Lewis Morrison made the plea to the Scottish Government ahead of the BMA conference in Glasgow. The chairman, a consultant at NHS Lothian, raised concerns about staffing levels, with the health service currently looking for 508 consultants.

He said 226 junior doctors had left NHS Scotland before completing their second year of work after graduation in the past five years.

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“We simply do not have enough staff – the number of consultant vacancies earlier this month only served to highlight that problem – and the fact that we are losing 45 junior doctors every year before they even finish their training is a further worrying issue.”

Morrison called on the Government and employers to make workers feel valued. He added: “Otherwise, how can they expect to retain staff?”

The chairman continued: “The Government and NHS boards need to get real about how staff at all levels are being treated, and the BMA stands ready to help that process.”

“Our workforce is stretched to its very limit. The truth is simple – doctors are a precious resource who need supported at every single stage of their career.”

Junior doctors in particular need support, Morrison argued.

In response, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman pointed to a record number of GPs working in Scotland and record-high overall NHS staffing, adding that the number of doctors in training has increased by more than 6% since the SNP took power.

She added: “We are committed to improving the working lives of our staff by taking action on issues like pay, terms and conditions.

“We will continue to work closely with BMA Scotland to identify what further measures can be taken.”