Key health jobs across Tayside have been lying unfilled for months — and some for nearly two years.
Six posts at NHS Tayside — five with potential salaries of more than £100,000 — have been open since 2015, a Tele investigation has revealed.
Among those is a role for a psychiatry consultant at Dundee’s Carseview Centre, where mental health patients are treated.
Danny Devine, a solicitor at Muir, Myles and Laverty, has represented a number of families whose loved ones have taken their own lives after receiving treatment at Carseview, and raised questions about the facility potentially being short-staffed.
He said: “It’s concerning they’ve been unable to fill a consultant position at Carseview for so long.
“You have to ask, is NHS Tayside doing enough to actively fill these positions or is it a cost-cutting exercise by leaving them open? My clients will be really surprised to hear about this and rightly concerned too.”
Also unfilled from 2015 are a GP role in Brechin, a consultant in microbiology in Dundee, a consultant in psychiatry for learning disabilities at Strathmartine Hospital and two old-age psychiatry consultants at Perth’s Murray Royal Hospital.
George Doherty, director for human resources and organisational development at NHS Tayside, said: “Patients and their families should be assured staffing in our wards and services are in line with NHS Scotland nationally-recommended workforce tools.
“Like many other health boards, NHS Tayside is affected by a national shortage of nursing staff.
“There is ongoing active recruitment to fill vacancies as they arise including targeting recruitment of all new nursing graduates.
“There are shortages across Scotland within certain medical specialities, including mental health, with a national shortage of consultant psychiatrists.
“NHS Tayside has an active recruitment process for consultant psychiatrists, which is looking at recruitment from within the UK and abroad.
“We also maximise recruitment through identifying appropriate opportunities to use social media, passive targeting of potential candidates from across the globe and accessing the European job mobility portal.
“While this process is ongoing we have ensured continuity of medical care within mental health services by employing suitably trained locum consultants.”