2013 census of psychiatric staffing
The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2013 census of psychiatric
staffing was conducted at the end of 2013 and gives a snapshot
of staffing as of 31 December 2013.
We are pleased that 78.9% of NHS trusts responded which is very
similar to the 81% response rate in 2011. This continued high
response rate probably reflects the conduct of the census through
the College division offices with their closer links to
organisations and professionals within their geographic domain. We
had less success with our response rate from the independent
sector, and the College will seek to secure better engagement
with the independent sector before the next census takes place
There are limits on how much we can generalise from the census
as not all trusts responded, notwithstanding that, the census is a
general guide to what is happening with the psychiatric
The numbers of consultant and SAS doctor posts reported is
slightly higher than in 2011. However the increase in locum
consultant and locum SAS doctors’ posts appears to be a increasing
trend, which the College will continue to monitor.
The 93.9% increase in vacant and unfilled consultant posts since
2011 appears dramatic and is concerning, should it be sustained.
Not all trusts have responded, but this suggests a shift in
recruitment, with London having the highest percentage of vacant
consultant posts. It is however a snap shot and we will continue to
monitor vacancies. For SAS doctors the number of vacant and
unfilled posts is less dramatic but the figures we have suggest an
increase of 30% in vacant or unfilled posts. This rise in vacant
posts may reflect a combination of short term cost savings and, in
the case of SAS doctors, the ongoing recruitment difficulties.
These vacancies may be contributing to the experience on the ground
of an increase in day to day workload and cuts to resources.
Trusts continue to report job plans of above 10PAs as very much
the exception – this almost certainly represents a hidden cut in
manpower, taking account of the number of vacant posts.
The consultant retirement number of 112 for the year September
2012 to September 2013 is less than reported for the previous year.
We anticipated an increase in retirement numbers as a result of
pension changes, but thus far we do not have the evidence that this
has been the case. This is an area the College will continue to
gather intelligence on over the next two years and we will
work with HEE and other stakeholders to ensure that the supply of
psychiatrists is sufficient to meet the demand for high
Finally we are grateful to the staff in all the division offices
for their work in liaising with trusts, to colleagues in the
independent sector, to Julian Ryder and Nikki Cochrane in the
College's Training and Workforce Unit for their coordination of the
overall process and to Adrian Husbands for his analysis of the data
and production of this report. Thanks are also due to medical
directors and human resources managers for the time they have given
to this task.
Dr Aideen O'Halloran
Workforce Lead, Royal College of
Census results from previous years: