The results of a study into the clinical academic staffing levels in UK medical schools have been unveiled this week by The Medical Schools Council.
The study, the 13th to be published by the Council, features analysis by academic grade, source of funding, specialty, region, gender and ethnicity. It also focuses on professors, readers/senior lecturers and lecturers.
The survey findings include data highlighting that there were 3,131 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) clinical academics in UK medical schools at the July 2014 census date (Lecturer grade and above). There were, in addition, some 2,052 FTE Researchers and Other academics.
Further information shows that Academic Public Health has increased in size by 15 percent since 2005. Over the same time frame, the FTE clinical academic workforce in Psychiatry and Paediatrics & Child Health has decreased by around 10 percent. The shortage of clinical academics in Pathology is of particular concern, with a 26 percent decline in a decade, and recruitment concerns highlighted by several medical schools, particularly at professorial level.
Additionally, women make up 28 percent of the clinical academic team. There has been notable and sustained change, with a 41 percent increase in the number of women in clinical academic posts since 2004, whereas the number of men has declined (by 4 percent since 2004). Around 42 percent of Lecturers, 33 percent of readers/senior lecturers and 18 percent of professors are women.
Finally, the ethnic profile of clinical academics is more diverse at Lecturer and Researcher grades, however the proportion of the clinical academic workforce of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) origin (16 percent) remains below that of the population of doctors as a whole (28 percent) and of medical students (32 percent).
“Clinical academic staff make up about 5 percent of the consultant workforce and play a key role in enhancing the quality of care through research and education”, said Professor Iain Cameron, chair of the Medical Schools Council. “This latest national report demonstrates a relatively stable number of clinical academics, reflecting the resilience of UK medical schools in a challenging financial environment. It is good to see that more women are pursuing a career in academic medicine. However, Medical Schools Council recognises that there is still more to be done to address the barriers facing women in academic medicine.
“A less welcome trend is the increasing proportion of clinical academic staff in more senior positions in relation to academic grade and age. This highlights the crucial need to continue to nurture the academic career pipeline.”
The survey can be accessed on the Medical Schools Council website.