The 2016 – 2017 census of consultant physicians and higher specialty trainees in the UK has been published today. The annual project, which was conducted by the RCP London Medical Workforce Unit (MWU) on behalf of the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK, collects data on the consultant physician workforce and provides information to inform future planning and policy making. Questions asked include topics such as time worked and contracted, consultant numbers, on-call commitments and appraisal and study leave. The key findings were as follows:
- The proportion of female consultant physicians has again increased, and over half of higher specialty trainees (HSTs) are female.
- Less than full time (LTFT) working has also increased. Data show that consultants who had recently retired (but subsequently returned to work) predominantly worked LTFT.
- Over three-quarters of consultant physicians and HSTs are UK graduates, and the overwhelming majority are UK citizens.
- Nearly half of advertised substantive consultant posts were not appointed to. This is likely the result of awarded certificates of completion of training (CCTs) being much lower than advertised posts.
- Over one-fifth of consultants reported that trainee rota gaps occur ‘frequently’ or ‘often’, and stated that these gaps have a significant impact on patient safety.
- Physician associates were seen more frequently in specialties with significant rota gaps.
- Both consultants and HSTs reported high levels of satisfaction with specialty work, but substantially lower levels of satisfaction with general internal medicine.