Doctor numbers threatened by shortage of academics
- By: Zosia Kmietowicz
Plans to boost the number of doctors working in the NHS are under threat from a shortage of medical academics at universities in the United Kingdom, the BMA has warned.
There are currently fewer than 1000 clinical academic doctors working in the health service, and 79 professorships at medical schools are unfilled, representing a quarter of all posts funded by the government's higher education funding council.
Professor Stephen Tomlinson, vice chancellor designate of the University of Wales, told the BMA's annual conference for clinical academics that there are a further 322 vacancies for lecturers and senior lecturers in medical schools. Pathology, psychiatry, and surgery have been particularly badly hit.
The government has vowed to increase the number of medical students by more than a fifth over the next two years, from 5300 last year to 6500 in 2003. Politicians from all parties, however, have so far failed to grasp the