While there has been a consultant expansion of 60% over the last 10 years, 43% of all advertised gastroenterology and hepatology consultant vacancies remain vacant. With 40-55% of advertised posts being unfilled over the past 3 years, it suggests that this is an on-going issue where demand for these services is exceeding expansion.
With a move to more flexible working, increasing retirements, as well as early retirements, and the reduction in clinical activity as a consequence of the current pension crisis, it is difficult to quantify how these factors will impact on the future workforce. One solution may be to double the number of ST3 NTNs each year to address this and deliver future expansion.
Other key points:
- On 30th September 2018 there were 1570 substantive gastroenterologists and hepatologists consultants in the UK, a 5.1% expansion from 2017
- Mean yearly expansion over the last 10 years was static at 5%
- 43% of advertised consultant gastroenterology and hepatology posts in 2018 were unfilled so expansion was less than it should be
- 21% of consultants were female and 14% of all consultants worked flexibly
- It is predicted we need an additional 134 WTE consultants working 11.55 PAs a week which could be achieved in 2 years if there is 5% expansion
- Mean WTE PAs worked per week were 12.58 (contracted 11.55) and FTE 7.77 (contracted 7.03)
- On 30th September 2018 there were 687 Higher Specialty Trainees (613 NTNs) in gastroenterology and hepatology in the UK
- 88 CCTs were awarded in gastroenterology and/or hepatology between 1st October 2018 and 30th September 2019 which is a drop of 17% from the previous year
- In 2019, recruitment into ST3 was 100% although competition ratios are falling
- It would be appropriate to suggest doubling the current number of ST3 NTNs recruited each year to address the consultant deficit and allow for future expansion
- The numbers of applicants for IMT continued a downward trend and decreased by 9% in 2019. There was a 100% fill rate likely due to a lower number of vacancies.