There are fears health services will suffer “serious staffing issues” as a growing number of NHS workers are able to consider retirement.

The warning has been issued after latest figures revealed more than a fifth of consultants working for NHS Scotland are aged 55 or above, with more than 100 aged 65 or over.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs, of the Scottish Conservatives, believes the likes of Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital will have staffing issues unless the Scottish Government takes “urgent action.”

He said: “We already know the numbers of doctors in training have fallen to a five-year low. Now we learn that, at the other end of the spectrum, the consultant workforce is ageing at a considerable rate.

“Even in just a few years, the number of consultants who’ll be considering retirement has risen and now accounts for more than a fifth of that workforce.”

The British Medical Association recently expressed fears the official vacancy figure for consultants in NHS Scotland – set at 6.8 per cent – is more likely to be around 14 per cent.

However, a Scottish Government spokesman said consultant staffing numbers are at a record high level, up by more than 50 per cent under its time in power.

He added: “More than 60 per cent of consultant staff in NHS Scotland are aged under 50.

We continue to invest in the medical workforce and, by 2021, will have increased the number of medical places at Scotland’s universities to a record high of 1,038.

“The Scottish Government has been working with the Royal College of Surgeons and others to create a Locum Medical Bank, using a pool of retired consultant staff who have expressed an interest in working in remote and rural areas.

“Through the staff bank service, retired consultant staff can continue to provide valuable services to NHS Scotland.”