BMA report

Consultant workforce shortages report

Our report looks into the issues facing the consultant workforce and what actions need to be taken by the Government and employers, now and in the future, to ensure consultants are retained in the NHS.

Location: England
Audience: Consultants
Updated: Sunday 18 October 2020
Topics: NHS delivery and workforce, COVID 19
NHS Structure Article Illustration

The NHS workforce faces a perfect storm of consultants choosing to retire earlier, a significant proportion approaching retirement age and a growing trend of younger doctors walking away from their career.

COVID-19 added significant additional pressure on the workforce with doctors working long hours, in new settings, whilst risking their own lives. Now the NHS is facing a growing backlog of unmet need on top of the existing staffing and resourcing shortages.


What you'll get from this report

  • Steps employers can, and should, take now.
  • A deep-dive into the pressures facing the consultant workforce.
  • Medium and long-term solutions with case studies.


Our short and medium-term solutions

  • Make the most effective use of retired doctors who would like to return to work.
  • Protect staff safety.
  • Develop a supportive and caring workplace culture.
  • Allow consultants to work flexibly, including remotely where possible.
  • Enable consultants to change parts of their role.
  • Offer sabbatical leave.
  • Provide opportunities for leadership, training, development and research.
  • Support staff going through the menopause.
  • Clarify and widen ‘retire and return’ arrangements.
  • Pay employer contribution to employee on leaving pension scheme.
  • Address the real terms pay erosion.
  • Short, medium and long-term solutions
  • Why more consultants are needed
  • Retention of consultants
  • Time scales and solutions
  • Good practices
  • Productive work for staff not able to work in face-to-face roles
  • Policy principles for trust’s retention policies