National Health Service Recruitment – Consultants

Immediate Release – Thursday 18 December 2014

A freedom of information request by Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP, Dr Richard Simpson, to all health boards indicated that, far from consultant contracts being offered on a split of 7.5 to 2.5 sessions, which is the national contract, 60 per cent of all new consultant contracts in Scotland have been offered on a 9:1 basis.

British Medical Association (BMA) recommends 2.5 Supporting Professional Activities (SPA) time for consultant contracts which is incorporated into SAS doctors’ contracts to provide them with time to undertake a wide range of work outside of their Direct Clinical Care activities.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP asked a Parliamentary Question regarding Consultant Recruitment in the Chamber today. This was following a question asked by Joan McAlpine which was suggesting that increased private practice in England meant that fewer applications were being received in Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robinson was unforthcoming; however she agreed to look into further measures to improve consultant recruitment.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“At the time when there are high levels of consultant vacancies across Scotland, the abuse of national consultant contracts is unacceptable. The Cabinet Secretary, Shona Robinson should act to instruct the SHD to review all recent consultant contracts following the information exposed by the Freedom of Information request.”

“I also believe that qualitative research into consultants appointed on less than 7.5:2.5 should be undertaken in order to allow recommended SPA time for consultant contracts.”

“The new consultant contracts offered on a 9:1 basis are simply unsustainable and untenable.”

Dr Nikki Thompson, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish Consultants Committee, said:

“Time for SPA activities is vital so that consultants are able to maintain and develop their own skills, train junior staff, and support and improve services and techniques which directly benefit patient care and safety. By maintaining appropriate SPA levels the BMA seeks to ensure that we have skilled and up to date doctors, now and in the future, and safe and sustainable services with the flexibility to respond to changing patient needs over time.”


Notes to Editor:

Please find below a link to the official report from the Scottish Parliament:


This week (11th December), Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity with two rehoming centres in Scotland, joined forces with Richard Simpson MSP and special guests Dennis and Gnasher to help raise awareness for the charity’s compulsory microchipping campaign at a photocall event in the Scottish Parliament.

8,847 Scottish owners have availed of the free microchipping service offered by Dogs Trust across the country this year, demonstrating a real enthusiasm for this important component of dog welfare. The charity is dismayed, however, that the Scottish Government has still failed to announce its decision on the proposed introduction of compulsory microchipping, despite launching a consultation on the issue nearly a year ago.

Speaking at the event, Richard Simpson, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said:

“Microchipping has a number of welfare benefits – the most important being the ability to rapidly identify a stray or lost dog and return it to its owner. In 2014, 4,893 lost or straying dogs were picked up by Local Authorities in Scotland. Dogs Trust believes that compulsory microchipping will help to reduce these numbers, thereby cutting kennelling costs for Local Authorities and reducing the burden on animal welfare charities.”

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, added:

“We were delighted to bring Dennis and Gnasher to the Scottish Parliament today and highlight our on-going campaign for compulsory microchipping with MSPs.

Sadly, Dogs Trust has been calling on the Scottish Government to introduce this vital tool of dog welfare and reunification for years now. We strongly welcomed the consultation on this issue that was launched last year, but nearly twelve months later we are still waiting on a Government decision.

Reducing the nation’s stray dog population is at the very heart of Dogs Trust’s ethos, which is why we have committed a considerable amount of money, for a limited time period, to ensure no dog owners will lack the financial ability to microchip their dog. We have chipped over 10,000 dogs in Scotland since our roving “chip teams” began their work in September 2013, and also offer free chipping by appointment at our two Scottish rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder. It is clear that the Scottish people want compulsory microchipping, and it is now the turn of the Scottish Government to act and legislate for its introduction without delay”.

To find out more about when the roaming Dogs Trust teams will be in your area or learn more about the benefits of microchipping visit


For further information please contact:

Margaret Donnellan       Dogs Trust Public Affairs Manager

020 7812 5266          

Notes to editor

Dogs Trust is the UK’s leading dog welfare charity and has a network of 20 Rehoming Centres in the UK, including two in Scotland. The charity cares for over 16,000 stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs each year. Dogs Trust has a non-destruction policy, and will never put a healthy dog to sleep. The charity is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

Mischievous Gnasher was microchipped by Dogs Trust in The Beano comic this year. Compulsory microchipping is becoming law for all dogs in England in April 2016 and also in Wales.