Census of consultant physicians and higher specialty trainees

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.

The census is now closed.

If you haven’t received your email, or are having difficulties accessing your form, please contact mwucensus@rcplondon.ac.uk

Physician Wellbeing 2017

In April 2017 the Royal College of Physicians of London (RCP) undertook a short wellbeing survey on behalf of the RCP, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The survey asked questions about wellbeing that had not previously been explored in the annual census of consultant physicians. It was sent to one-third of substantive consultant physicians currently at work in the UK (with a response rate of 30%).

Key findings

  • More than 50% of the time, 78% of consultants felt valued by patients and 70% by colleagues/staff, but only 26% felt valued by the hospital (only 20% of female consultants). Only 35% of consultants felt fulfilled more than 50% of the time.  
  • Self-determination is often linked to wellbeing, and only 53% of consultants felt they had largely determined their job plans.
  • There was considerable interest in more flexible working (with 39% wanting annualised hours, 33% a sabbatical) as a means of improving career satisfaction.  
  • 52% of respondents reported that the perfect dream job plan would entail more research, 41% said more teaching, and 47% said more time with patients.

Wellbeing survey summary graph 15.4 KB

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.

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.

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. Parts 2 and 3 of the Plan, to be published later in 2017, will examine how to improve integrated workforce planning in social care and primary care settings.

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.


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.