Focus on physicians

The Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK conduct an annual census of UK consultants and higher specialty trainees. The census measures the number of UK consultants and higher specialty trainees in all medical specialties, as well as capturing the views of those in the profession.

Focus on Physicians 2017-18 is the most recent census, completed in June 2018.

The consultant data from this census can also be downloaded on the link below. This tool allows interogation of the census data and filtering on a variety of fields.  The HST data from this census will be available shortly. 

 

Physician Wellbeing 2018

Aside from the census, in February 2018 the RCP  distributed to a portion of the consultant workforce a short survey on consultant wellbeing. The results of the Wellbeing 2018 survey are used to influence government, support workforce planning, and contribute to national health policy.

Key findings

The census revealed continuing pressure on the medical workforce and the systems in which physicians work. This pressure is demonstrated by ongoing problems with rota gaps, unfilled posts and high levels of reported sickness absence:

  • 45% of advertised consultant posts went unfilled due to a lack of suitable applicants
  • 53% of consultants and 68% of trainees said rota gaps occurred frequently or often, with significant patient safety issues in 20% of cases
  • Trainees reported that a fellow junior doctor was absent due to sick leave in 46% of their on-call shifts
  • Both consultants and trainees estimated that they worked on average 10% more than they were contracted to work
  • The number of consultants working less than full time (LTFT) has risen to 23%. This was particularly noted among older consultants who have moved to LTFT, supplementing those working this way on a longer term basis.
  • The number of trainees working LTFT rose to 15%.

The data demonstrates a mixed picture in terms of the consultant and trainee experience of general internal medicine (GIM). Satisfaction among consultants and trainees with working or training in GIM remains significantly lower than satisfaction with their specialty, but there have been modest improvements in job satisfaction in GIM for trainees since last year:

  • 88% of consultants always or often enjoyed working in their specialty, but only 55% always or often enjoyed working in GIM, although that has risen from 49% last year.
  • 86% of HSTs always or often enjoyed working in their specialty, but only 40% in GIM, although that has risen from 25% last year.
  • However, 59% of trainees would not train in GIM if they had their training period again, compared to 58% last year. A worrying 27% of trainees reported that if they could turn back time, they would take a medical job outside the NHS and 31% a job outside medicine.
  • The reason for the dissatisfaction was made clear when we asked trainees what would improve the quality of their GIM training. 87% said no rota gaps, 82% a better balance between service and training, and 72% protected time for professional development.

Previous census results

Scottish Academy Annual Reports

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland (the Scottish Academy) produces an  Annual Report which provides information on consultant panel arranged and completed and appointments made. It also includes issues raised and recommendations for improving the current service. The Scottish Academy compiles and maintains a list of External Advisers and assigns them to consultant panels.

 

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges - Impact of Brexit

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has issued an updated position statement on Brexit which outlines the proposed overall approach the Academy and Colleges intend to take; the key issues for Medical Royal Colleges in respect of the implications of Brexit for Healthcare; and intended actions and next steps.

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges - Brexit

 

Scottish Government    

The Scottish Government published Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan in June 2017. This sets out how it will work with partners to secure sustainable NHS staffing alongside its programme of change in health and social care. 

 National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan - Part 1 a framework for improving workforce planning across NHS Scotland

Part 2 of the plan was published jointly with COSLA in December 2017.  This looks at at how to enable different workforce planning systems to take stock, and move forward incrementally towards improved integrated planning across the full Social Care landscape.

National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan - Part 2 a framework for improving workforce planning across NHS Scotland

Part 3 was published in April 2018.  This sets out how primary care services are in a strong position to respond to the changing and growing needs of our population; describes the anticipated changes in the way services will be developed to meet population need; how Multidisciplinary Teams will be strengthened to deliver an enhanced and sustainable workforce and how we will work with partners to ensure that better quality and more timely data is developed to drive effective local and national workforce planning.

National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan - Part 3 a framework for improving workforce planning across NHS Scotland

Audit Scotland

Audit Scotland is undertaking a two part workforce audit  in 2017/18. The first part, published in July 2017, focuses on the clinical workforce in acute hospitals, assessing how well this workforce is managed to meet the demands of the Scottish population for acute services. A future audit will focus on the preparedness of the general practice and community-based workforce to meet increased demand for local care provision.

Compassion

In March 2017, the College, the University of Edinburgh Global Health Academy and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman hosted an event on compassion in the NHS attended by clinical, nursing, social care and patient representatives.

 

 

Further information: