MSP calls for health secretary to quit as radiologist ‘crisis’ grows

Shona Robison

More than 50 surgical staff have signed a letter outlining how Raigmore’s radiology department is in crisis.

The letter, which includes the signature of the president of the Royal College of Radiologists, states staff have “grave concerns” about the speciality’s workforce in NHS Highland.

According to health bosses in the north, there are only currently four consultant radiologist vacancies – but the college president believes the area needs a further 12 radiologists to provide a safe and effective service.

Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain, Conservative, highlighted the growing crisis in a topical question to Health Secretary Shona Robison in the Scottish parliament.

Ms Robison said work was continuing to improve the staffing situation.

She said: “The chief executive of NHS Scotland, the chief medical officer for Scotland and the director of health workforce recently met radiologists from NHS Highland and, later this month, I will meet the Royal College of Radiologists to discuss its concerns.

“There is no magic wand – or magic bullet or however else we might describe it– to sort the issue. It is difficult to recruit to radiology in Highland and other areas; the specialty is difficult to recruit to generally and recruitment is particularly difficult in remote and rural areas.”

Mr Mountain called on Ms Robison and the board of NHS Highland to resign having failed to secure improvements three years after issues with staff shortages came to light.

He said: “Neither Shona Robison or the NHS Highland board are taking the radiology crisis at Inverness Raigmore hospital seriously.

“The cabinet secretary argues that attracting radiologists to the Highlands is difficult. That’s just not good enough and her lack of resolve will be cold comfort to doctors, surgeons and clinicians in Inverness.

“Enough is enough. Such shameful stewardship of NHS Highland means thousands of patients are not receiving a standard of care they are entitled to.

“Shona Robison and the NHS Highland board are not solving problems, they are adding to them.

“It is about time they stepped aside and a fresh team was appointed to resolve the NHS Highland crisis.”