Career Focus


BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 11 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:S3-7151

Manpower planning is a difficult business, and thoracic medicine has had its fair share of travails over recent years. In the early ‘nineties oversupply of trainees led to large numbers of time expired senior registrars waiting for a consultant post. Consultant expansion then hit the heady heights of 8% in the middle of the decade, but has now slowed to a steady state. According to the chairman of the British Thoracic Society's manpower planning committee, Dr Warren Perks, the workload in the specialty, which includes patients with asthma and lung cancer, is predicted to rise. The British Thoracic Society has embarked on a campaign to persuade the NHS to expand its complement of chest physicians; applicants for specialist registrar posts will want to keep a sharp eye on what actually happens. Since regional control of consultant numbers was abolished, getting the information to make well-informed decisions has been difficult. Similar problems exist in all specialties, but have been discovered earliest in thoracic medicine because of the quality of the society's internal database, added Dr Perks.

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