Census of Psychiatric Staffing
The results of the 2011 Census
are available. The 2013 Census will start in September 2013
and the results will be available in early 2014.
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
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
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: