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Consultant vacancies in the NHS—a short term solution?

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 12 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:949
  1. Peter Sykes

    There has been much concern recently about the inability of the NHS to attract consultants in many specialties and localities and anyone who has seen the curriculum vitae of applicants for consultant posts cannot fail to have noticed the decline in the number and quality of applicants. Historically, there has always been greater competition in certain specialties and in certain hospitals than in others, but at present even consultant posts in short stay medical and surgical specialties, which have previously been regarded as attractive, remain unfilled.

    There are several causes for the present shortfall of consultant applicants: insufficient medical students; a fall out of graduates, particularly women, within three or four years of graduation; and unattractive postgraduate training programmes, which place little emphasis on education, and an undue emphasis on service. Other factors include the change in the work permit regulations, which have abruptly reduced the flow of overseas doctors, and the declining attraction of the consultant post as the pressure on consultants increases as ever more tasks have been allocated to them such as management, training of junior doctors, …

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