The team will be paid more than £13,000 for a two-month contract to recruit desperately-needed family doctors.
Despite an average salary of £89,000 and the chance to work amid some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK, concern is growing about GP shortages in the Highlands.
NHS Highland last year tried and failed to fill seven GP vacancies in the West Lochaber area alone..
Health bosses are now paying Jersey-based Orchid Communications £13,220 to try to solve the problem.
The firm will lead three pilot schemes, in Kintyre and Mid Argyll, Arisaig, and the Small Isles, with a focus placed on emphasising the positives of life in rural areas.
North MSP Mary Scanlon has welcomed the move, saying that the health board needs to “think outside the box” if they want to fill the vacancies.
Mrs Scanlon said: “There have been people saying for years that the health boards should try advertising in mountaineering magazines or wildlife magazines.
“That’s how you would find people who have an affinity with that way of life and I’m glad they’re now trying something out of the box.
“It’s a worthwhile step and I’m glad that the board are now taking positive steps to deal with growing problem.”
A report published this week by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned that health boards will face an “increasing struggle” to provide services to patients.
The body, in a new policy paper, said a lack of broadband and mobile data services rendered many innovations championed by the Scottish Government useless in rural areas.
They said some doctors were forced to be on call 24 hours a day, meaning their own family lives were suffering, while others faced social isolation.
In October last year, the health board attempted to recruit new staff by creating a video and uploading it on YouTube.
In the six-minute film, workers seeked to dismiss misconceptions about the Highlands.
But less than a year later the health board are still spending thousands in a desperate bid to fill positions.
An NHS Highland spokeswoman said: “The initial focus will be on GP recruitment but it will also look at other health professions.
“It has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain health and care professionals to remote areas.
“This scheme will play a vital role in helping to develop longer-term recruitment solutions that will allow the healthcare needs of rural communities to be delivered.
“Funding of £1.5million is being invested in testing innovative ways of recruiting to healthcare professionals in rural areas of Scotland and in particular GPs.”]]>
Douglas McDougall fell and hurt himself following the bar session to celebrate Europe’s famous 2012 victory over the US.
The chemistry and maths teacher – who has a PhD from Edinburgh University – then abused the ambulance team that turned up to help him.
Dr McDougall, 58, taught children with additional support needs at Buchanan High, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.
But a disciplinary hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) heard that he had a history of drink problems.
The teacher faced a further two charges in front of the GTCS relating to drink-driving and the hearing in Edinburgh was also told that he had once kicked a policeman.
The incident involving paramedics took place on September 30, 2012, when Dr McDougall went to the pub near his Hamilton home to to watch the European golf teams “miracle” comeback at Medinah, Illinois.
An ambulance was called after Dr McDougall fell and hurt his head.
The hearing was told that the teacher was admonished at Hamilton Sheriff Court in February this year after he admitted a charge that he did “assault, obstruct or hinder an Emergency Service Ambulance Technician, then responding to emergency circumstances and did shout, swear and gesticulate at them”.
Dr McDougall told the GTCS: “I insisted that I did not need any medical attention and that all I wanted to do was go home.
“I remember raising my voice and pointing to the location of my residence.”
The teacher also admitted that he had been banned from driving for four years in 2004 after he failed to give a breath test. He was banned for a further years in 2012 after driving at over twice the limit for alcohol.
Dr McDougall said: “I admit I had a drinking problem which was exacerbated by family matters over the past 10 years.
“I accept I had problems with alcohol but the likelihood of me doing this again is nil as I no longer consume alcohol and haven’t since autumn of last year.
“I am repentant for the things I have done and I am deeply ashamed the way I treated those professionals. It will stay with me forever.
“To this day I still feel a pang of anguish and shame whenever an ambulance passes me as it serves a reminder of that day and what I done.”
His lawyer Alastair Milne said: “Dr McDougall’s performance in his many years as a teacher has never been called into question. He is well respected by his colleagues and he has sought medical assistance for his alcohol problem.”
Dr McDougall took a retirement package earlier this month but wanted on the remain on the teaching register so that he could continue to provide tuition.
But Gillian Sim, case presenter for the GTCS, called for him to be struck off.
Ms Sim said there had also been an incident in 2006 when Dr McDougall kicked “a police officer in the body”. She said the incident was investigated at the time but no charges were brought forward.
She added: “The facts demonstrate that the defendant has repeatedly fallen below the standards expected.
“There is a clear pattern of inappropriate behaviour and his most recent conviction was in February of this year; just six-months ago.
“It is in the GTCS opinion that Dr McDougal be removed from the register and prohibited from reapplying for the maximum of two-years.”
Panel chairman Yusuf Segovia said: “Your actions have clearly demonstrated that there is an impairment to teach. We have decided that you will be removed from the register and prohibited from reapplying until six months.”]]>
The woman, from the central belt, lost almost £100,000 – her life savings.
Yesterday (tues) Police Scotland revealed that there has been a “drastic increase” in the number of people – most of them OAPs – being caught out.
Vishing is when a criminal calls their victim claiming to be from their bank’s fraud department and says that their account has been “compromised”.
Victims are urged to transfer their money from the compromised account to a “safe” one, which actually belongs to the scammers and is immediately emptied.
According to Police Scotland Detective Inspector Arron Clinkscales it is “predominantly the elderly and infirm” who are being targeted.
Throughout Scotland there have been 26 incidents reported with £1.3m being stolen by fraudsters.
In Edinburgh alone £720,000 has been taken over 17 attempts, with the other being in the “north” and “west” of country.
Speaking Yesterday DI Clinkscales said that it was mainly people in their “60s, 70s, 80s and 90s” being targeted, with the oldest victim being 92.
The woman lost her life savings worth £99,000 in the “very convincing fraud”.
The largest amount lost by a single victim was £163,499, while the lowest was £16,000.
At an event held at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters in Edinburgh yesterday it was revealed that institutions including the Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Santander had all taken hits.
DI Clinkscales also revealed that on some occasions victims had actually been taken into the banks by criminals to withdraw the money.
Chris Wilson, Managing Director of RBS in Scotland said that all their frontline staff were trained to spot such attempts.
As part of the scam, victims are put off their guard by being encouraged to hang up and call the number on the back of their bank card.
But the fraudsters simply stay on the line and pick up their victims “call”, usually with another criminal answering to avoid raising suspicion.
DI Clinkscales said: “Those responsible for committing these offences are despicable individuals who mostly prey on the elderly and vulnerable members of our communities.
“It is essential that police and the banking industry work together to address this matter and ensure that the public are fully informed on the type of tactics criminals will utilise to obtain their personal details or money.
“Our awareness-raising posters be available within bank branches throughout Edinburgh and local policing teams will deliver crime prevention leaflets to various addresses across the city.
“In addition, bank staff are being given additional training to identify potential victims before they remove large sums of money from their accounts.
“I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that neither the police, nor banks, will cold-call an account holder and ask for personal details, or for money to be transferred elsewhere.
“If you receive a call like this, do not comply. Hang up and ensure the line has been cleared before contacting police.”
Chris Wilson, Royal Bank of Scotland Managing Director RBS in Scotland said: “Fraudsters work by creating fear that a customers savings may be under threat. No bank will ever ask a customer to transfer their savings or part of their savings to another account or another bank in order to “protect the funds”.
We’re delighted to join Police Scotland in this campaign to raise customer awareness around how these scams work.”]]>
Zoo chiefs fear the noise from low-flying planes and helicopters could cause the pregnant giant panda to lose her cub.
An official aviation notice was issued last month to prevent flights within a mile radius of the world-famous tourist attraction.
Zoo bosses said the restriction was originally brought in to help breeding penguins but now helped protect Tian Tian, who is due to give birth on August 31.
Hopes are high that Tian Tian will produce a panda cub after two years of disappointment.
An official Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued in mid-July.
A zoo insider said: “The main reason for the NOTAM was for the penguins as it’s their main breeding time.
“But the Panda was also a factor.”
A CAA spokesman confirmed that they did issue the notice based on a request from the zoo.
The spokesman said: “Following a request from Edinburgh Zoo through the Air Traffic Control Unit at Edinburgh Airport, we issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on 11 July requesting pilots to not fly within a one mile radius of the zoo or below 1,900 feet above sea level.”
The official notice expired on July 31 but Edinburgh Airport said an informal arrangement was still in place to avoid zoo airspace.
A spokesman said: “We can’t enforce people not to fly so it is a request to helicopters and small planes.
“The request has come from the Zoo and Edinburgh airport and air traffic control are happy to work with.
“So we’re requesting that aircraft do not fly over the Zoo.”
The normal flight path for commercial jets approaching Edinburgh Zoo rarely takes large aircraft closer than two miles.
Edinburgh Zoo said in its official statement that the no-fly request was “to prevent disturbance to all animals in the collection”.
“It is particularly relevant at this time of year due to the regular increased activity of low flying aircraft and hovering helicopters which occur as a result of the festival.
“We have been in contact with the Military Tattoo and the RAF for several years now and they have both always been very supportive and considerate of our requests.”
Police Scotland was made aware of the notice and took it into account when flying its helicopter in Edinburgh.
However, the force was prepared to fly over the zoo if necessary in an emergency.
Last year experts believed Tian Tian became pregnant last year but lost her cub at late term.
Although panda pregnancies are notoriously unpredictable, the latest scientific data suggests she is on course to give birth on August 31.
Other NOTAMS in Scotland in recent days include a warning about a model rocket firing an event in Ayrshire.
Along with an air display in Strathaven, a fireworks display in Dumfries and kite flying in Girvan.]]>
Arthur Morrison, who represents the Kirkcaldy East constituency in Fife, is now facing calls for his resignation.
Cllr Morrison runs Kirkcaldy-based consultancy company L5 Systems which he says requires him to be out of the country for most of the year.
Despite claiming a salary of £16,234 from Fife Council, Cllr Morrison admitted that he only visits Scotland once every five or six weeks.
Concerns were raised this week by other councillors who believe that he is failing to meet his duties.
Last year Cllr Morrison attended just seven out of 47 committee meetings for which he is a member.
While this financial year, which started in April, he has been present at just two meetings.
Cllr Morrison, who insists he will not resign, attended one of 13 Kirkcaldy Area Committee meetings held since April 2013, which Kirkcaldy Area Chairman Cllr Neil Crooks described as “sparse to say the least.”
The information came to light after one SNP member claimed Mr Morrison had failed to conduct surgeries in his constituencies and was only contactable by email because he is living overseas.
Speaking from Austria last night, Cllr Morrison said: “I am busy in Austria a lot of the the year, but I come back to Scotland every five to six weeks to attend meetings.
“Work demands that I am away.
“My business is basically consultancy, which basically requires me to be out of the country quite a lot. I am back next week.”
Cllr Morrison further claimed that he did come back to attend important meetings and carried out casework by email.
And the councillor suggested there was little point attending meetings because of party bias.
He stated: “Council meetings are heavily politically biased. It is hard to influence them when there is such a strong party line.”
Scottish Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser said: “If Cllr Morrison does not want to serve the people of his ward, he should step down.
“People don’t elect a councillor to live hundreds of miles away.
“They want them to be an able representative and face in the community.
“By the sounds of things, Cllr Morrison is neither.”
Labour Cllr Kay Carrington, who also represents the ward as Cllr Morrison, said: “Around 20 percent of calls to me are by people who have failed to reach him.”
According to Fife Council, councillors are only required by law to attend one meeting in a six month period.
Labour Cllr Neil Crooks, said: “I want to make it abundantly clear that Fife Council’s minimum expectations are nowhere near enough of a commitment for a councillor to have, particularly now they are on a salary.”
Linda Bissett, democratic services manager, said: “Cllr Morrison has met this requirement so we are not investigating this issue.”
A spokesman for the SNP said: “Any complaints about the performance of an SNP councillor will be investigated in accordance with the SNP’s agreed procedures.”
A spokeswoman for Fife Council said: “Councillors are elected by the public and are therefore answerable to the electorate. Anyone who has a concern about the work of their local councillor should contact them directly.”]]>
The pair are ambushed in a Glasgow street by a cameraman who demands to know why they are sitting in the unmarked car with what appears to be a speed camera.
The officers – who are wearing high visibility vests – try to insist that they are visible.
But a few seconds later they drive off – without indicated their right turn – to jeers from onlookers.
After being on Facebook for just minutes more than 550 people had shared the video and almost 1000 likes.
The embarrassed female officer sitting in the passenger seat at first looks to the two men who approach the car, but quickly turns her face away and refuses to make eye contact.
As they walk up to the car – an unmarked, black 61-reg Vauxhall – one man says: “You’re in an unmarked police car with a speed gun. You’re meant to be highly visible.”
To which the young female officer replied: “We are,” pointing to her vest.
One of them men hits back: “You’re not. You’re in an unmarked car. That’s not highly visible. That’s shoulder height.”
As the officers squirm, the men point to passing cars, telling them they would not be able to identify them as police vehicles.
Despite looking embarrassed and continually looking towards her male colleague, the officer nods her head while replying quietly: “OK.”
The men then warn the officers that “the next time you pull somebody” they will turn up to protest.
The female officer is then heard saying: “Ok you do that.”
Although the female officer looks to say something, again without making eye contact with the men, her partner begins to drive off.
The two men begin to laugh, with one saying: “And now you’re leaving because you know it’s entrapment.”
While the other says: “Bye. F****** idiot.”
A Scottish Government document titled Scottish Safety Camera Programme states that: “All fixed camera sites and vehicles used for mobile camera deployment, should be clearly visible to road users and not hidden behind bridges, signs, trees, bushes or any other type of obstacle that would reduce the visibility to an approaching driver.”
It also states: “Vans or other substantive vehicles used for safety camera deployment must be clearly identifiable as such.”
Facebook users were quick to comment on the video clip.
The appropriately-named Darren Constable claimed: “Using the ‘law’ against people that do not understand their rights. Get yourself a little education people and stand up to this.”
Mark Melbourne claimed: “Sneaky as ever.”
Laura Kidd wrote: “Didn’t see a turn signal when they drove off back to traffic school.”]]>
NHS Fife admitted that 1,363 patients aged over 65 were sent home between 9pm and 9am during 2013/14.
Health chiefs said 367 of the patients were aged 80 or over.
The board was heavily criticised earlier this year after the death of Graeme Aitken, 66, who was sent to his Dunfermline home at 4am despite being blind and seriously ill.
A spokesperson for Age Scotland said: “Nobody should ever be discharged without the NHS knowing the proper care will be in place for them.
“Hospitals need to ensure people are appropriately discharged and that, if required, care plans are in place.
“Nobody who is in a vulnerable position should be sent home without this, especially not late at night.”
Mr Aitken was sent home by taxi on March 14.
The former Lib Dem councillor was discovered by his wife Wendy in his front garden having been sent home with a packet of paracetamol.
He told his wife he felt he was going to die and she immediately called for another ambulance to take him back to the hospital where he died the next day after having three seizures, with the doctor treating him claiming he was unaware of Mr Aitken’s previous admittance.
Two months after his death Mr Aitken was sent a bill for the taxi fare by NHS Fife.
Fife’s associate director of nursing, Morag Gardner, said: “The majority of patient discharges take place before midnight.
“However discharges taking place after 9pm generally involve patients who are leaving admissions units and have been admitted, seen by a doctor and subsequently seemed suitable to return home the same day.”]]>
The 52-year-old comedian posted the vintage snap with the caption “Can you see me noo?” to his 22,700 followers.
The black and white image shows 34 happy pupils posing for a class photograph at Alexandra Parade Primary School in Glasgow.
Fans of the comedian took to twitter to make their guess at which pupil was Kiernan.
Craig Murphy guessed: “Back row. 4 in from the left?”
Another fan Charlie Brown suggested: “3rd in from the right, on the back row?”
While John McGowan thought: “Back row far left.”
The 21-night run of the Still Game stage show, at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow has sold over 200,000 tickets.
The original four dates for the staged theatrical version of the comedy, September 30 to October 3, sold out in hours, crashing internet booking sites.
The run has since been extended several times, with the most recent addition of five shows from September 19-21 to satisfy demand.
Last week, it’s starts, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill revealed they are in advanced talks with the BBC about broadcasting a new series of the popular comedy and creating new adventures for its characters Jack and Victor.]]>
The wheels on Euan Mackenzie’s bike fall into the groove of one of the tramlines and he is flung across the road.
Mercifully, no tram was coming in the opposite direction but Euan claimed it was only a matter of time before the tracks killed a cyclist.
A number of cyclists have had accidents after trying to cross the tracks of the £776m tram system, which is laid along busy roads through the city centre.
Euan, who posts videos on YouTube as “Raging Bike”, was recording using a Go-Pro camera when the accident happened.
The video shows him cycling in the busy west end. Without warning, the camera sickeningly lurches to the right and Euan yells in pain and horror as he skids into the opposite tram lane.
As the camera rolls, he is surrounded by passers-by who come to his aid.
Euan said he suffered wrist and shoulder injuries as well as damaging “expensive” clothing.
He said: “Someone will get killed at this junction, the design is terrible and there is no consideration of cyclists.
“I was cycling at the optimal angle to cross those tracks, but as you can see they are lethal.
“I spent my formative years in Brussels and crossing tram tracks were a daily routine.
“I never fell because they were designed correctly.
“I’d like to thank the brilliant people who came to my aid. Wonderful.”
According to cyclists, the design of the system means their wheels become trapped in the groove which allows the metal tram track to sit in the road.
Edinburgh councillor Gavin Corbett, who regularly cycles in the city, called for urgent action to be taken to fix the tramlines.He said: “Constituents of mine have also expressed alarm about how difficult it is to cross.
“The council urgently needs to get on with improving road markings here to steer bikes away from the tracks.
“It also needs to look at creating more space for cyclists and looking at new technologies which make tram tracks more bike-friendly.”
Dasha Polakova, assistant manager of a nearby bike shop, said: “We’ve had a few people come in since the trams started who have crashed because of the lines.
“The tracks outside Haymarket are the big problem, it doesn’t matter which way you are travelling. If you aren’t experienced it is easy to crash.
“When it is wet, which is a lot of the time here, the tracks get very slippy. I imagine it is only going to get worse with winter, especially for those with road bikes.”]]>
Tamara-Jane Grantham also allegedly gave an unlicensed medicine to a baby under four months of age.
And Mrs Grantham failed to tell social work that the mother of another child was seeing a man banned from having unsupervised access to his own children, it is also claimed.
The nurse appeared before a disciplinary hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in Edinburgh on Tuesday.
She denies all seven charges related to her work as a public health nurse at NHS Fife.
The charges relate to a period between May 2011 and February 2012 at the Valleyfield Health Centre, Dunfermline, where a mother and baby clinic was run.
Witness Elizabeth Mitchell, a nurse with over 15 years’ experience, told the hearing: “A baby fell off the counter onto the floor.
“It was Mrs Grantham’s responsibility to ensure that the baby was seen by a doctor.
“I was concerned as the child was only six months old and the baby had fallen from the height of a kitchen top onto a hard floor.
“I would have expected Mrs Grantham to get the baby seen by the GP who was on the site, and fill out an incident report form as soon as possible.”
In another charge, Mrs Grantham is accused of “incorrectly prescribing Miconazole gel for Child E which is not licensed for use in babies under four months of age”.
“It’s illegal for a nurse to prescribe an unlicensed drug,” Mrs Mitchell told the hearing.
Another charge claimed she failed to alert social workers that the mother of another child was in a relationship with a man who had a history of domestic abuse.
Mrs Mitchell told the panel: “There were risks associated with the man towards women and children.
“[Mrs Grantham] told me at an investigatory hearing that she stood by the decision because the mother said she would never have left the baby with that man.”
Other charges include failure to “maintain adequate child health records”, not completing documents correctly and failing to file reports on time.
Owen Mullan, representing Mrs Grantham, said there was no doubt she had examined the child.
“There is nothing that you can do to ensure a child is examined by a doctor,” he added.
If the charges are found to be proven Mrs Grantham faces being being barred from the profession for a maximum of two years.
The hearing continues.]]>