UK neurosurgical workforce plan
EANS Academy. Thomson S. 09/25/19; 275465; EP10005
Mr. Simon Thomson
Mr. Simon Thomson

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Background: Between 2015 and May 2018 the number of UK trainees completing training but not yet appointed to substantive consultant posts grew from 26 to 43. The Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) on Training in Neurosurgery, in association with the Society of British Neurosurgeons (SBNS) undertook to find out the reasons for this.
Methods: A survey of all UK Neurosurgical units was undertaken by the SAC in May 2018. Further information was collected from published historical sources, the Joint Committee on Surgical Training, the General Medical Council (GMC) data explorer tool and through freedom of information requests to GMC and NHS jobs.
Results: Since 1993 the number of Neurosurgeons in UK and Ireland has risen from 132.5 to 389 (4.4% compounded annual increase). Although the number of trainees fell from 278 in 2012 to 248 in 2017, the number from UK medical schools remained the same. Trainees leaving training without completion has risen from 1.25 to 6 per annum since 2012. Between 2014 and 2018 the number of trainees completing training (mean 25 per annum) and the number of jobs advertised (mean 25 per annum) have remained constant. The number of ST1 level trainees recruited has risen which a fall in the number of trainees entering at the ST3 level has partially offset.
Conclusions: There is a growing number of UK trainees unable to find substantive consultant posts and a growing number dropping out of training. The main factors affecting workforce planning are difficult to predict 8 years in advance and include consultant expansion, consultant retirement and the number of trainees failing to complete training. Another factor may be the number of UK jobs which are not filled by UK CCT holders. The SBNS with support from BNTA has formed a workforce group and will conduct a further census in 2020.
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