A DEGREE for training specialists to treat hearing and balance problems is to be offered for the first time in Scotland, Rhona Brankin, deputy health minister, said yesterday.

The BSc in audiology, to begin at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, in October, will help combat a staff shortage.

It will train 25 students each year and an additional 20 science graduates will be able to undertake a two-year fast-track postgraduate course.

The announcement came as Ms Brankin opened a new audiology unit at Lorn & Islands Hospital in Oban.