MORE than 150 new trainee doctor posts are set to be created in Scotland next year in what will be the largest annual expansion on record.

It represents a 2.3% increase above the current whole time equivalent workforce of 6570 trainees.

The additional posts, costing £42 million over the next four years, are being funded by the Scottish Government to help meet growing demand in a number of key specialties.

NHS Education for Scotland recommended extra staff should be placed in 24 different specialties overall, including anaesthetics, emergency medicine, general practice, intensive care medicine, paediatrics, psychiatry and surgery.

Successful applicants will take up their posts in August 2024.

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Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Funding for these additional places will help to relieve some of the pressures currently facing our health service.

“The level of expansion taking place in 2024 – the largest ever – shows the Scottish Government’s continued investment and commitment to ensure that our health service is equipped to deliver timely and effective care to those who need it.

“Under this government NHS staffing is at a historically high level – up by around 29,100 whole time equivalent.

“We will continue to work with NHS Education for Scotland to support our trainees and ensure that we have a sufficient supply of doctors to meet future demand.”

Trainee doctors make up approximately 40% of all doctors currently employed by NHS health boards.

A total of 152 posts were created this year and 139 were added in 2022.

NHS Education for Scotland medical director Emma Watson said: “We welcome this announcement of additional posts across a wide range of specialties and in particular general practice.

“The increase will ensure we can support our doctors to work more flexibly where communities need them. We believe Scotland offers the highest quality medical education. Our trainees are a key part of the NHS workforce of the future - enabling us to offer better quality care and outcomes for every citizen in Scotland.”