Lack of medical academics threatens doctor training in Scotland

A recruitment crisis in medical academics is threatening doctors’ training in Scotland, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).

Plans to increase the number of medical students training in Scotland by up to 25% are in jeopardy, with medical academic staff numbers continuing to fall.

Recent figures show that, in a single year, Scotland’s medical schools have lost 6% of their clinical academic staff. The hardest hit medical school in Scotland was Aberdeen, which had a 12.8% drop in the number of clinical academic staff employed last year.

In a letter to the Scottish Executive, Dr Stewart Irvine, chairman of the BMA Scottish Medical Academic Staff Committee, said Scotland clearly needs more trained doctors.

“But who is going to educate them if this drop in medical academics is not reversed?” he wrote. “The Scottish Executive must take immediate action to ensure there are enough teachers in our medical schools; without them, it will be impossible to teach the doctors of the future and provide Scotland with the medical workforce it needs.”

Clinical academics are key staff in medical schools and have a wide-ranging role. They educate students and undertake biomedical and clinical research. They also play an important part in the NHS by providing direct patient care.

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