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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Consultant surplus, nurse shortages

9th January 2007

10052006_consultant1.jpgThousands of consultants will face unemployment by the end of the decade, says a new government report.

The draft NHS pay and workforce strategy for 2008/11 spending review reveals an excessive supply of medics will leave more than 3,000 unemployed, while the health service will be around a thousand short on both junior doctors and GPs.

Nursing shortages will top 14,000, but allied health professionals including physiotherapists, will be oversubscribed by around 16,000.

The draft document, detailed in the Health Service Journal, reveals poor job security for health staff over the next few years, with a reduction of staff of around 2.7 per cent expected this year. This will be followed by large increases, before a ‘dip in demand’ after the 2008 deadline for the 18-week target.

A number of suggestions are made in the document, including the introduction of a cheaper sub-consultant role and encouraging more doctors to train as GPs to offset the expected consultant surplus.

More investment in nurse training should be considered, while numbers of AHPs, technicians and healthcares scientists should be ‘managed down’ over the next few years.

It also suggests using more fixed-term contracts and temporary staff to offset peaks in demand, as well as a new package enabling staff to trade hours and leave for pay.

The final document is expected to be published later this year.

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