Scottish Government advisers have warned of a doctor brain drain over a ban on bonuses for medics.

NHS chiefs and SNP ministers are split over claims the abolition of distinction awards for consultants is leading to a shortage of top doctors.

Alex Salmond’s Government scrapped awards for new entrants in 2010 amid concern over their generosity.

However, senior NHS figures believe the curb is harming the health service as a similar scheme continues to operate south of the border.

A report by the Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards – a quango which answers to Ministers – has put the fears in writing.

They wrote: “It is a matter of concern to a number of members of SACDA, including the Chair, that, while awards have been frozen for a number of years in Scotland, they continue to be available in England, which puts Consultants working in Scotland at a disadvantage, regardless of the quality of their work.

“Some of us believe that this contributes to the shortage of Consultants being experienced in Scotland. This, we believe, is a matter which should be addressed by the Scottish Government.”

The latest SACDA report says the public body has nine members, including Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith.

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