The head of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland has called for more support to help retain NHS Scotland doctors amid staff shortages.

Dr Lewis Morrison made the plea to the Scottish Government ahead of the BMA conference in Glasgow.

The chairman, a consultant at NHS Lothian, raised concerns about staffing levels, with the health service currently looking for 508 consultants.

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He said 226 junior doctors had left NHS Scotland before completing their second year of work after graduation in the past five years.

"We simply do not have enough staff - the number of consultant vacancies earlier this month only served to highlight that problem - and the fact that we are losing 45 junior doctors every year before they even finish their training is a further worrying issue," Dr Morrison said.

"More effort must be made by the Government and employers to ensure that doctors feel supported and valued from the minute they step through hospital doors for the first time.

"Otherwise, how can they expect to retain staff?

"The Government and NHS boards need to get real about how staff at all levels are being treated, and the BMA stands ready to help that process."

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He added: "Our workforce is stretched to its very limit. The truth is simple - doctors are a precious resource who need supported at every single stage of their career.

"Scotland's NHS cannot afford to keep losing new doctors every year - we need serious steps to improve the working lives of junior doctors and make their training the best possible experience it can be.

"No-one expects every single doctor who enters training in Scotland to complete their studies and start work in Scotland's NHS.

"But if we are to make long-term progress on solving the current shortages of doctors that are causing massive issues across Scotland, then we need to start by doing all we can for those in the first critical years of their career in medicine."

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "We already have a record number of GPs working in Scotland and record-high overall NHS staffing - and are committed to increasing numbers even further, by at least 800 in the next 10 years.

"The number of doctors in training has increased by more than 6% under this government. In addition, by 2020/21, we will have increased medical schools places by 22%, equivalent to an extra 190 places.

"We are committed to improving the working lives of our staff by taking action on issues like pay, terms and conditions.

"We will continue to work closely with BMA Scotland to identify what further measures can be taken."