Current state of medical recruitment in England

British Medical Association (BMA) finds nearly three quarters of all medical specialties had unfilled training places last year, and many specialties were suffering year-on-year recruitment shortfalls. 

The BMA has warned that a shortage of doctors across most specialities of medicine is putting patient care at risk. The BMA obtained data from 2013 onwards, on the current state of recruitment into pre- and postgraduate medical education and training.

Analysis of the data revealed that:

  • Although still highly competitive, fewer people are applying to medical school.
  • Foundation programme posts and applications are decreasing.
  • Applications to specialty training are decreasing.
  • Nearly three quarters of all medical specialties faced under-recruitment in 2016.
  • There are geographical variations in recruitment trends, with the northern regions bearing the brunt of the recruitment crisis.

To address this workforce crisis, the BMA is calling for greater career flexibility, improved health and wellbeing services, rota gaps to be tackled, maintaining the NHS’s ability to recruit from overseas and improved workforce planning.

Full briefing: The state of pre and post-graduate medical recruitment in England,
September 2017

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