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

Royal College of Psychiatrists workforce census

The last Royal College of Psychiatrists census of psychiatric staffing was conducted at the end of 2015 and gives a snapshot of staffing as of 30 September 2015. We are pleased that nearly 90% of NHS trusts responded to the workforce census, up from 79% in 2013.

Summary of findings

The detailed findings are set out in the report of the workforce census for 2015 but the headlines are:

  • A reported increase in filled consultant posts (up 5.9% from 2013).
  • A gradual and continuing shift towards gender parity in consultant staffing.
  • An ongoing rise in the number of vacant or unfilled consultant posts, concentrated in General, CAMHS and Old Age psychiatry, and in the London area.
  • A decrease in the number of filled SASG posts, a reflection of the ongoing recruitment difficulties at that grade.

Trusts continue to report job plans of above 10PAs as very much the exception – this almost certainly represents a hidden cut in manpower, taking account of the number of vacant posts.


The long anticipated increase in retirement numbers as a result of pension changes has not yet become an eventuality – this is an area that the College, along with others such as Health Education England, will continue to monitor and gather intelligence on, to ensure that the supply of psychiatrists is sufficient to meet the demand for high quality services.


Finally we are grateful to the staff in all the division offices for their work in liaising with trusts, to colleagues in the independent sector, and to Julian Ryder in the College's Training and Workforce Unit for his management of the overall process, analysis of the data and production of this report. Thanks are also due to medical directors and human resources managers for the time and effort they have given to this task.

2017 census of psychiatric staffing

The College will publish the next workforce census in 2017 and all NHS trusts and independent and third sector providers will be contacted and asked to complete the survey. Please contact the workforce helpdesk with any queries.

Dr Aideen O'Halloran

Workforce Lead, Royal College of Psychiatrists


Census results from previous years:

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