A LEADING coalition of third and independent sector children's services providers has warned that an acute shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists is a 'ticking time bomb'.

The Scottish Children's Services Coalition said the Scottish Government should act as it highlighted figures from Health Education Scotland showing vacancies in many high level NHS psychiatric roles.

In the most recent national recruitment round for jobs starting in August, just five out of 13 higher specialist training places for doctors in child and adolescent psychiatry were filled. Last August just three out of eight positions were left unfilled. In addition, just one doctor was recruited this year for nine training slots caring for people with learning disabilities. The situation is even more acute outside the Central Belt.

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The Coalition is writing to ministers, calling for incentives to encourage recruitment into these specialisms and to support and encourage medical schools in training in psychiatry or medical health with more flexible training.