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Health / New GPs for Scalloway and Brae

NEW GPs have been recruited for Scalloway and Brae – but it can still be a tough task enticing staff north, a meeting of the local health board heard.

Director of community health and social care Brian Chittick told the NHS Shetland meeting on Tuesday that “there have been some wins – but it is still challenging”.

He said the new GP will start in Scalloway in November. In Brae the GP will begin work in the new year.

It comes after the health board reported an overspend of £1.9 million in the current financial year.

Much of this is due to the additional costs of bringing up temporary locum staff to fill gaps in service.

Chittick said that the Brae practice was a key factor in the locum costs.

“Recruitment of GPs does remain a challenge due to the national shortage and the remote and rural aspects,” he said.

The health board continues to look at different models, such as the Rediscover the Joy programme which aims to attract GPs to rural areas on short-term contracts.

Meanwhile a rotational model has paid off in Unst, Chittick said.

Board chairman Gary Robinson said it was “really positive that we have made some inroads”.

Finance director Colin Marsland told the board that a “golden hello” worth £10,000 is available to GPs who take up a job in remote and rural areas, as well as relocation money.

While these incentives are in place, “it’s about selling the whole package of living in Shetland”.