A NORTH MSP has called for Scotland’s health secretary to resign over NHS Highland’s radiologist crisis.
More than 50 staff of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness have signed a letter saying the situation has reached "critical" levels as imaging examinations have increased by 250 per cent in the last decade – while the number of full-time radiologists has dropped by four.
Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain raised the issue during topical questions to health secretary Shona Robison before asking her to quit.
"It has proved impossible to recruit more radiologists, despite the board’s direct input over the past three years.
"There has been one resignation this year. Doctors say that, as a result, there are unacceptable delays to elective and emergency surgery and to reporting.
"Some two-and-a-half years ago the cabinet secretary had a personal visit from radiologists from the Highlands to alert her to the problem.
"The cabinet secretary has had two-and-a-half years to solve the problem – the board has had more than three. It appears that neither the cabinet secretary nor the board of NHS Highland can solve the problem.
"Will the cabinet secretary step down and make way for those who can? Will she do the honourable thing, so that people in the Highlands can get good service?"
Ms Robison said work is ongoing to address the issue, including a review into radiology services.
"A review of radiology services was commissioned by the Scottish Government, along with NHS Highland. The report was produced last month and will form the basis of an action plan to address the problems.
"There is no magic wand, or magic bullet, or however else we might describe it, to sort the issue.
"It is difficult to recruit to radiology in Highland and other areas [as] the speciality is difficult to recruit to generally and recruitment is particularly difficult in remote and rural areas."