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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Census of Psychiatric Staffing

The results of the 2011 Census can be found here. The 2013 Census was conducted at the end of 2013 and the results will be available shortly.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ 2011 Census gives a snapshot of psychiatric staffing as at 31 December 2011. 81% of NHS Trusts responded to requests for information, an increase over the 73% achieved by the 2009 survey. This increase probably reflects the conduct of the census through the College Division Offices with their closer links to organisations and professionals within their geographic domain. Numbers of posts reported appears slightly higher than in 2009 but this is proportionate to the better Trust response rate – as in 2009 there is no evidence that there is an absolute increase in number of posts.

In contrast to the impression on the ground however neither is there clear evidence of a reduction in absolute numbers of posts. For the first time the census attempted to quantify the workforce not merely in numbers of individuals but also in their time contribution. Trusts are reporting job plans of above 10PAs as very much the exception – this almost certainly represents a hidden cut in manpower.

As austerity bites the need for robust guidance on safe and sustainable services, staffing and job plans grows. Population norms may have become less meaningful as services and providers have diversified and professional roles have evolved. They were perhaps also less necessary in a time of expansion of resource than in a time of shrinkage. The College has recently begun to address this gap with publication of its paper ‘Safe Patients High Quality Services’, which sets out exemplars of consultant job plans in the context of differing patterns of service delivery.

 

Finally I am grateful to the staff in the all Division Offices for their relentless pursuit of Trusts, to Eva Davison, College North West Division Manager, and Charlotte Collins, College Workforce Manager, for their coordination of the overall process, to Charlotte for her collation of the data and production of this report.  Thanks are also due to Medical Directors and Human Resources Managers for the time they have given to this task.

Dr Aideen O'Halloran

Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Workforce Lead

 

Census results from previous years:

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