BGS workforce data: 2017 summary

British Geriatrics Society
Date Published:
29 November 2018
Last updated: 
29 November 2018

The BGS works closely with the workforce team at RCP. Information on consultant numbers and other details such as projected retirements are  taken from the annual RCP survey, but unfortunately only around 50% of geriatricians respond to the survey invitation each year. This page provides a summary of information from 2017.

Summary of findings at March 2017

We have high numbers working LTWT and taking additional experience during their training programmes, and therefore need to be able to over-recruit to the programme, or mortgage training numbers. This needs to be supported at HEE and equivalent level across the four nations as there is variation between LETBs.

The current advertisement and recruitment process does not suit the needs of our speciality. One possible solution is to hold a third regional recruitment round per year.

All TPDs in geriatric medicine in the UK were surveyed on March 1st 2017, covering 25 separate LETBs or training areas. Response rate was 100%.

NTNs and Vacancies

There are 742 NTNs in Geriatric Medicine in the UK. Of these posts, 31 (4.2%) were unfilled on the day of the survey. The table below shows the breakdown across the four nations.

  NTNs Vacancies Vacancy Rate
England 602 24 44%
Northern Ireland 17 1 5.9%
Scotland 70 0 0%
Wales 45 6 13.3%
  743 31 4.2%

14 areas had no vacant posts, and in the majority of cases the vacancy rate is under 10%.

LTWT Working

Of doctors working within the training programme at the time of the survey, 15.8% across the UK are less than whole time (LTWT).

England 451 84 15.7%
Northern Ireland 16 0 0
Scotland 62 13 17.3%
Wales 31 8 20.5%
  560 105 15.8%
Time out of Programme (OOPEs)

Doctors take time out of programme for a variety of reasons, including additional specialist training, research, maternity leave and occasionally other personal reasons.

48 doctors were undertaking work-related OOPEs at the time of the survey, with 16 training in Stroke. This is 7.8% of the NTNs in geriatric medicine. OOPE rates vary considerably between regions, from 0 – 26%.

6 doctors were taking time away from programme for sickness or other personal reasons, and 65 were on maternity leave. This accounts for 9.6% of the NTNs in geriatric medicine.

Academic Training

There are 17.75 academic training posts across the UK (either old-style or ACFs). These are shared between 11/25 regions. At the time of this survey, 2.75 were vacant.


There are no LAT posts in England or NI, however 6 remain in Scotland and 2 in Wales.


2 doctors are undertaking single speciality training. One of these already has a CCT in GIM and the other is an academic who dropped GIM only in her final year of training.

Completion of Training

In the 6 months leading up to this survey, 32 doctors obtained their CCT in geriatric medicine, and 3 used their grace period to extend their training for 6 months before taking up a consultant post. This is a lower number of CCTs than would be expected given ~650 doctors on a 5 year training programme, but is likely accounted for by breaks taken for maternity leave, OOPEs, and increased years of training due to flexible working.

  • One doctor stepped down from a training post to continue as a speciality doctor in geriatric medicine for family and lifestyle reasons.
  • One transferred to respiratory medicine
  • One moved to Australia
  • One resigned (no further information available)
  • Two transferred regions but remained within the speciality
  • Two trainees (within the same region) received ARCP outcome 4s despite appropriate support and coaching.
  • Other Comments from the survey
  • Two areas (Severn and South Wales) have 3 new posts each, starting from August 2017.
  • North London are repatriating training numbers to East of England.

Several areas are still being prevented from advertising posts which have trainees in them at the time of job advertisement, but will be empty at the time any recruited doctors start work, therefore making 100% recruitment unachievable in these regions.

There is strong feeling from TPDs that over-recruitment is essential.

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