Highlands & Islands

NHS Highland gives assurances on radiologists

Radiology Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption There is a Scotland-wide effort to recruit radiologists

NHS Highland has sought to assure patients on the availability of its radiologists.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Edward Mountain voiced concern in Holyrood of a shortage of the specialists at Raigmore in Inverness.

He said an interventional radiologist was due to leave the hospital and the health board was still trying to recruit their replacement.

NHS Highland said it was still recruiting and had cover in place.

Mr Mountain raised his concern about the situation at Raigmore in a question to Health Secretary Shona Robison about radiology vacancies Scotland-wide.

He said: "From August we are going to have the situation where we will have no interventional radiologist in the Highlands.

"This effectively means that elective and general surgery and emergency surgery will be severely affected."

Ms Robison said patients in the north of Scotland would receive the services that they would normally expect.

She said rather than criticise work to recruit radiologists, Mr Mountain should get behind the effort.

'Regularly outsource'

NHS Highland has 16 radiologist posts, two of which are based in Oban and the remainder in Inverness.

The health board said 12 of the posts were "filled substantively".

The four vacancies are in Inverness one of which is for the interventional radiologist, and another is for a breast radiologist.

NHS locums are currently filling the two other vacancies, one general and one breast.

A spokeswoman said: "A specialty doctor was appointed to the department in January who is continuing to train with the aim of achieving consultant status in due course.

"There are also two rotational registrars in training.

"In addition we are using sessional interventional radiologists through waiting list initiatives and regularly outsource a proportion of the routine radiology reporting work to commercial providers."

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