Scottish Government
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Expanding Scotland’s medical workforce

£32 million for 139 additional trainee doctors.

The Scottish Government has committed £32 million to create a further 139 trainee doctor posts to support services under greatest pressure during the ongoing recovery from COVID-19.

Trainee doctors currently make up 44% of doctors employed by NHS Boards. The majority of successful applicants will start from Autumn 2022 in medical specialties including cancer, psychiatry, anaesthetics, intensive care, public health and respiratory medicine – but this new funding will provide core psychiatry training places with a start date of February 2022.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf recently said:

“This significant expansion of trainee doctors underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to support the NHS, not only in response to the pandemic but also as we look beyond and plan ahead to build long term resilience. The additional posts in Psychiatry, the first of which will commence in February, will also provide vital support to the delivery of mental health services.

“Our healthcare staff have been vital in our response to COVID-19, which has reinforced the importance of ensuring we have the right staff in the right place at the right time.”

NES Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Professor Stewart Irvine recently said:

“We very much welcome this announcement of additional postgraduate training posts across a wide range of medical specialties for 2022 recruitment. NES will continue to develop our programmes to ensure that we offer the best possible training for those who choose to pursue their medical career in Scotland and to support our future NHS workforce needs.”

Dr Miles Mack Chair of the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges recently said:

“This expansion of the number of doctors in training is very welcome and is an important step in beginning to address workforce shortages.

“We have been recommending an increase in training numbers for some time, and it is very encouraging that the Scottish Government has listened to advice and has responded.

“We now need to ensure that these doctors have a good training experience and that the consultants and GPs who train them have time to do so effectively.”


Trainee doctors currently make up 44% of doctors employed by NHS Boards, with 6005.9 WTE (whole time equivalent) trainees currently in post. Funding covers from this financial year through to 2025-2026.

Since 2014, 574 trainee posts have been created in a wide range of specialties and General Practice. These 139 posts being created for 2022 is almost double the number of 74 created in 2021.

The Scottish Shape of Training Transitions Group (the SSoTTG) recommended that the Scottish Government funded these additional posts in a number of medical specialties including: core psychiatry, anaesthetics, intensive care, public health, respiratory medicine, radiology and oncology.

NHS Education Scotland and the SSoTTG will undertake a detailed review of the number of emergency medicine specialty training posts and will make recommendations to the Scottish Ministers in 2022.

The SSoTTG includes broad stakeholder representation, including NHS Boards, the BMA and NHS Education Scotland (NES).


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