Jobs downturn could help boost health and social care job numbers

The downturn in the jobs market could help fill long-vacant posts in health and social care, helping to reduce dependancy on costly locum cover.

The integration joint board was presented with the board’s unaudited annual accounts at a meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Chief financial officer Karl Williamson highlighted an overspend on services.

“That’s due to the usual themes we’re well aware of such as high cost locums and difficulties in achieving savings targets,” he said.

However, SIC member Robbie McGregor said Mr Williamson had highlighted Shetland’s low rate of unemployment –  a point also taken up by chairwoman Emma Macdonald.

“With the fact we’re going to see a huge increase in unemployment in Shetland, where are we at with our ability to not use agency staff?” she asked

The meeting heard of initiatives such as the GP Joy project aimed at improving recruitment.

Brian Chittick pointed to one example of an initiative which had developed the use of consultants over 17 weeks of the year. The project was linked to a “tertiary centre” on the mainland. 

“We’re looking at other models in the workforce including GPs where we’ve had really good success with the Joy Project.

He added GPs were trained in the isles, and stressed he would prefer to recruit locally where possible.

“If they have that skill set it would be preferable to look at that. Shetland is coming out of Covid with a significant impact on employment and the economy.


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