Clinical academic numbers increase

THE number of clinical academics in UK medical schools has risen by almost five per cent in the past five years.

An annual staffing survey shows that on July 31, 2012 there were 3,167 full time equivalent (FTE) medical clinical academic posts – up 4.5 per cent since 2008. Despite the rise, the number was still 11 per cent lower than in 2000 when there were 3,549 FTE medical clinical academic posts.

By contrast, the number of NHS consultants has risen by 55 per cent in the past 12 years, from around 28,300 FTE posts in 2000 to 44,000 in 2012.

Since 2000 there has been a 21 per cent drop in the number of reader and senior lecturer posts and a 35 per cent fall in lecturer posts. Professor numbers increased by 26 per cent over the same period.

The Medical Schools Council has reported difficulties in recruiting doctors to clinical academic posts at half of all medical schools. This has been blamed on factors such as a lack of suitably qualified candidates for senior positions, the removal of NHS funding and problems attracting clinicians into the academic training pathway.

MSC chairman Tony Weetman said: “The numbers of clinical academics and the resources they require to teach and innovate can only be sustained through ongoing investment.

“It is essential that we continue advocating the immeasurable value of clinical academies and strengthening our relationships with the NHS, medical charities, and funding councils, to ensure that the UK’s most talented students are aware of clinical academia as a viable and fulfilling career.”