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Survey shows serious shortage of medical academics in the UK

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 23 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:446
  1. Rhona MacDonald
  1. BMJ

    Between 10% and 20% of medical professor and senior lecturer posts and 20% of lecturer posts in the United Kingdom are vacant, according to a recent survey by the Council of Heads of Medical Schools and Deans of UK Faculties of Medicine.

    The authors point out that this is particularly worrying in that medical education is currently expanding rapidly and so even more clinical academics are needed.

    Independent advice obtained by the council suggested that an acceptable level of staff turnover was of the order of 5% to 7.5% A rate of over 10% indicated a serious retention and recruitment problem.

    The situation is more acute in England, where four new medical schools are opening, with a planned increase of 60% in annual intake of undergraduates. Also, nearly 40% of clinical academic staff are employed in London medical schools.

    UK medical institutions were asked to provide data on the source of funding, clinical specialty group, and academic grade for all full time clinical and academic staff employed in medical and dental schools on 1 October 2000. All responded, and the results showed that funding and staffing varied widely between specialties. Most unfilled posts were in general medicine and surgery, but there were also …

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