This census of psychiatric staffing, as at 30 September 1996,
is the fifth annual census undertaken by the Royal College of
Psychiatrists. The information we are gaining from our annual
census is now providing useful accumulative and comparative data
year on year and the census material continues to prove valuable in
our negotiations with the Department of Health on workforce
planning matters. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, there
continues to be some missing data (there are six trusts for whom
the 1995 data has had to be used in this census) and we are much
later in the publication of this census than we would like to be.
Some of the changes which we intend to introduce for the 1997
census are intended to ensure that we can produce complete data at
an earlier date for next year.
The census again provides a summary of psychiatric staffing
covering England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Information
is collected via the College's regional advisory structure and is,
therefore, independent of the data provided by the DoH.
The new census continues to show the pattern of previous years
which is to confirm a marked shortfall in Consultant recruitment.
As shown last year there is an increase in the number of Consultant
vacancies but also an increase in the number of Consultants in
post. This reflects the fact that there is a widely recognised need
for Consultant staffing to expand but we continue to be unable to
provide enough qualified applicants for Consultant posts.
Clearly, we need more Specialist Registrars in order to
produce an increase in trained applicants and the census data is
essential information required in our negotiations for
adequate numbers of Specialist Registrar posts.