THE failure to attract consultant radiologists to Scotland noted in your report ("Worldwide search for 32 radiologists sees just five posts filled", The Herald, February 11) highlights the shortage of radiologists in Scotland. This is not a new problem as Dr Grant Baxter of the Royal College of Radiologists and others have been warning the Scottish Government and ministers of the growing need to train more radiologists for a decade at least.

The need to transfer images to private clinics for reporting at a significant cost to the NHS is the tip of an iceberg with consequences for the timely treatment of patients including those with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Failure to heed the advice of the profession created this crisis in imaging services.

There is no-short term answer as the 2017 initiative to increase the number of trainee radiologists will take several years before those in training are ready to become consultants. The shortage in radiologists is mirrored throughout NHS Scotland with 300-plus consultant posts vacant and more than 600 posts without a permanent contract holder. The Health Secretary has a mammoth task in trying to solve this problem – if indeed there is a solution.

Pat Crumlish,

22 Crosbie Court, Troon.