Advertisements for medical vacancies increase by 8% in a year

Authors: Tom Moberly 

Publication date:  27 Jul 2017

NHS trusts are increasing their recruitment efforts to fill vacancies, posting 8% more advertisements for medical jobs on NHS Jobs in 2016-17 than in the previous year.

In the year to March 2017, NHS trusts in England advertised to fill 32 153 full time equivalent medical jobs, up from 29 776 in the year to March 2016.

The increase in the number of posts advertised was greatest among foundation doctors and specialty doctors. The number of advertised vacancies for foundation doctors rose by 44% over this period, from 824 to 1185. The number of vacancies for specialty doctors rose by 12%, from 3785 to 4228, and the number of vacancies for consultants rose by 10%, from 9892 to 10 917.

Commenting on the NHS Digital data, Andrew Dearden, BMA treasurer, said that patient care could be undermined if issues with staff recruitment were not tackled.

“Across many parts of the NHS, recruitment and retention problems are leaving staff and services thinly stretched and affecting patients’ access to care,” he said. “Doctors are telling us they are struggling with unsustainable workloads to try to fill the gaps. This has a huge impact on morale, often leading to stress and burnout. If we cannot find a solution, it is inevitable that these doctors will consider looking elsewhere for jobs that provide them with greater career satisfaction and a better work-life balance.”

Dearden added, “These issues need to be urgently tackled to ensure the NHS can continue to attract and retain frontline staff, and to ensure that it has the necessary resources to meet rising demand on services. Failure to do so will compound existing recruitment problems, adding to pressure on existing staff and affect access to, and quality of, patient care.”

NHS Digital said that the actual number of vacancies may be higher than the number advertised.

“As one advert can be used to fill multiple vacancies it is still not possible to accurately state the number of vacancies within a specified period,” NHS Digital said in a statement accompanying the data. “Therefore the only accurate statement remains that the number of advertised vacancy full time equivalents shows the minimum number of vacancies advertised.”

Tom Moberly UK editor The BMJ

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: