An airport bus is advertising for nurses hundreds of miles away, despite there being more than 430 vacancies in NHS Grampian hospitals.
The First Bus 16 route, which travels from Aberdeen Airport to the city centre, has an NHS Borders poster on its rear with the heading “Calling All Nurses”, urging registered and student nurses to apply.
The health board has paid £20,000 for a month-long campaign, with adverts displayed across the country.
First Aberdeen has confirmed Experian, its advertising agency, had been commissioned by NHS Scotland.
But last night the campaign was criticised as it was revealed that NHS Grampian are still looking to recruit hundreds of new nurses.
Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said: “This may be a national advert, but it sends out entirely the wrong message at a time when we have a desperate recruitment crisis in Grampian.
“The nursing staff shortages in particular are well documented and are having a significant impact on growing waiting times for operations.”
Last night, Grampian bosses said they continued to face recruitment challenges but nursing and midwifery staffing levels were at their highest since the current records began in 2010.
The health board’s head of workforce Gerry Lawrie added: “We do however face increasing demands upon our services, in part due to an expanding and aging population, which does pose us with challenges. In order to help us meet that additional demand, we have opportunities for more than 400 nursing and midwifery staff.
“While a lot of our new nursing staff do come from the local area, we’ve also been able to attract people from further afield, including elsewhere in Scotland, the wider UK and internationally.
“Currently we have roles for nurses in most adult specialities across our acute and community areas, children’s nursing, mental health and learning disabilities.
“For new graduates, we can also offer immediate start as health care support workers while people are awaiting confirmation of their registration. We also have student relocation packages available.”
Meanwhile, Nicky Berry, associate director of nursing, primary, acute and community services and head of midwifery, said: “NHS Borders is a values-based employer and we wish to attract high quality staff to all our posts and we are ambitious and proactive in doing this. We believe this is an innovative way to recruit staff to the lovely Borders area.”