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Highlands and Islands MSP secures debate on NHS Recruitment and Retention

By Niall Harkiss

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Highlands MSP Rhoda Grant secured the debate.
Highlands MSP Rhoda Grant secured the debate.

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant has secured a debate on NHS recruitment and retention in a bid to secure more healthcare related courses in the region.

The Labour MSP submitted the motion as she believes more courses should be established to meet staffing challenges in many clinical disciplines, such as midwifery, mental health services and women’s health services.

In 2019, the University of the Highlands and Islands established a shortened midwifery course in response to the workforce need in northern Scottish Health Boards.

However, the Scottish Government did not approve a third cohort in 2021 and moved the course to Edinburgh Napier University.

The MSP hopes that this debate will make clear to the Scottish Government that the workforce shortage is still prevalent in the Highlands and Islands and it is, in fact, slowing the expansion of services.

Ms Grant said: “We recently saw the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf, open two new community hospitals in the Highland region. As much as I welcome this investment, lack of staff means that part of new Broadford Hospital remains unused.

“We must establish local courses using our world-renowned university This will not only encourage students to move here, work here and hopefully set down roots here but it will also utilise local talent who cannot or don’t want to move elsewhere.

“In the face of more people reaching retirement age and the need to develop more services, I appreciate that NHS Highland are requiring staff urgently and thus they’re looking to recruit elsewhere however, the Scottish Government need to do more to help Boards recruit, train and retain staff, especially within our northern Health Boards.”

The debate will take place this Thursday June 9 at 12.45pm.

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