More medical students could head north as health board considers stronger ties with university

Trainee doctors could be coming to work in the isles under plans to boost ties between the health board and the University of Aberdeen.

Medical director Roger Diggle told an NHS Shetland board meeting the university was “looking at expanding the number of medical students from Aberdeen” – with the suggestion of fourth year students staying for a 12-month placement.

Dr Roger Diggle – NHS Shetland is exploring the
Dr Roger Diggle – NHS Shetland is exploring the “radical” idea of attracting more medical students to Shetland.

NHS Shetland welcomes medical students from a range of universities, including Dundee and St Andrews and Dr Diggle said there would be “a massive amount of benefits” to having more students.

He said medical students generally studied either general practice, surgery or medicine when they came to Shetland for placements, though he stressed, “it’s wholly different having students here for six to eight weeks to having them here for a whole year”.

Providing accommodation was a big hurdle, he said and staff would need to be allowed extra time to help deliver the teaching, which would be broader ranging.

“We need to look if it’s actually feasible,” Dr Diggle said, and added, “accommodation could be a complete show-stopper”.

He said the idea would be looked at further in January, and if it was possible some students would be able to start in September.

Though to get eight to 10 students on placement for a year would probably not be possible until September 2018.

Fellow board member and SIC councillor Cecil Smith suggested the council could look at offering assistance with accommodation for students.

• More on story in Friday’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Paul Smith

    • December 13th, 2016 20:34

    Great news that we are getting mores student. Research has shown that if we create a pathway across practice then we can recruit and retain staff, which is great.

    However rather than looking externally, NHS Shetland need to look more close to home i.e. they need to start looking after the staff they currently have. Its well documented across the media then NHS haemorrhage staff at a rate of knots. Someone needs to look at this and act, before we have no staff left.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • December 14th, 2016 8:59

    “with the suggestion of fourth-year students staying for a 12-month placement”! Heavens above, practical experience is all well and good, but surely a student placement, post qualification, pre-registration would be the most sensible option. A fourth year, a student will only have two and a half years clinical training. That simple would render the position, of the student, an observer and little more, for a whole year!!!

    Will all the students have to have, a further 12 months added to their undergraduate training, in a teaching hospital, to cover for lack of theory, during that 12 months? The teaching facilities at GBH, hardly qualify as University teaching standard nor does Shetland have trained teaching staff! One sometimes has to marvel at our academic and administrative brethren.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.