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Edward Mountain calls for a Highland medical school to resolve NHS Highland’s recruitment challenges

By Louise Glen

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Edward Mountain.
Edward Mountain.

A call has been made to have Scotland’s next medical school in the Highlands.

Edward Mountain, the Scottish Conservative candidate for Inverness and Nairn, is calling for the process to select Scotland’s next medical school to be re-started and is supporting the bid for a Highland medical school.

Last year, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) lodged proposals with the Scottish Government to establish a new medical school.

However, the Scottish Government paused the review of these proposals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Mountain has said that as the vaccine continues to be rolled out and attentions turn to remobilising NHS Highland, now is the time to reconsider the plans for a Highland medical school.

He said that setting up the first institution for people to study to become doctors in the north would create an additional 150 medical training places and could train up to 750 doctors over the next parliament.

Mr Mountain said: “It is absolutely vital that the next Scottish medical school is located in the Highlands.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that NHS Highland has struggled with recruitment and workforce planning for too long.

“Staff shortages have seen the health board become overly reliant on expensive locums - in 2019-20 alone, NHS Highland spent £18.1 million on locum services.

“That’s not sustainable in the long-term and the establishment of a Highland Medical school will go a long way to attracting aspiring health care professionals to base their careers in our region.

“If we can train and recruit staff for the NHS in the Highlands we are more likely to keep them, meaning our rural communities will get the future medical cover they need.

“The economic impact of the pandemic is serious, but a new medical school will create jobs and training opportunities at a time when we most need them.

“If re-elected, I will press the next government to re-open the process for Scotland’s next medical school and I will campaign for it to be based in Inverness.”

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