This tool draws together data we have collected about consultant appointments from advisory appointment committees (AAC) since 2008.
Every year, RCP representatives sit on AACs in Trusts around the country. That enables us to collect data about how many consultant posts are advertised, how many are successfully filled and the demographics of those appointed. We use what we find out to help us improve healthcare by making sure the focus is on areas of need and in our campaigning.
After a significant drop in the number of advertised posts in 2018 and 2019 there was an increase in 2020 and 2021. The total still remains below the level it reached across 2013-2017. This was undoubtedly linked to the pandemic, but the proportion of posts that were successfully filled dropped below half for the first time in our series in 2021.
- Only 48% of advertised consultant posts were filled. This compares to 57% in the previous three years and an average of 60% since 2008.
- The largest number of advertised posts were in acute internal medicine (197), geriatric medicine (166) and respiratory medicine (149). While AIM and geriatrics medicine also come top across the life of the data, respiratory is usually lower (although still in the top 5).
- The largest number of posts were located in south London (70), central and north east London (60) and the west Midlands (54).
- 44% of those appointed were women, in line with the average of 43% since 2008 but a fall from 2020 (49%) and 2019 (51%). Notable outliers are cardiology (19%) and gastroenterology and hepatology (26%).
- 50% of those appointed were from an ethnic minority, higher than the average of 46% since 2008. This proportion tends to fluctuate between around 45% and 50%. Since 2008, the top areas on average are the north west, west midlands and south London.
We will continue to:
- use the data in our discussions with government about the need for accountability and transparency in workforce planning
- work with government and our partners to double the number of medical school places, with a focus on regions with fewer doctors
- work with the NHS in England to help develop the People Plan that supports its Long Term Plan, making the case for greater flexibility for staff of all ages and career stages
- identify and promote ways of encouraging trainees to work in specialties and locations with the largest recruitment gaps
- make the case for the UK to be accessible and welcoming to trainees and doctors from countries outside the UK.
“The RCP has led on having representation on consultant advisory appointment committees (AAC) for over a decade, and that insight was core to the data presentation in the inaugural Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard report we published in 2021. The launch of the AAC Data Tool is a a key development, offering easily accessible data which can segmented to look at trends by specialty, region and demography. This will be invaluable in policy development with national and regulatory bodies.”
Lead of the Workforce Race Equality Standard, NHS England and NHS Improvement
Joint director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, NHS England and NHS Improvement