Every field of medicine is short of doctors and an additional 6,550 consultants are needed to provide a safe and effective service, according to a Royal College of Physicians report. Physicians say audiologists are the most overworked and need to increase their numbers eightfold to meet demand. Nearly four times as many clinical neurophysiologists and three times as many clinical pharmacologists and rehabilitation specialists are needed.
Among the medical specialities, such as kidney experts, respiratory specialists and neurologists, at least three times the number of consultants is required for a safer National Health Service (NHS). The report says doctors struggle under an “unacceptably heavy” workload and work hard to provide a high-quality service under difficult conditions.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “It’s well known that the NHS has been provided on a shoestring in the past. That’s why the NHS Plan promised, as part of a package of investment and reform, to bring in 10,000 more doctors by 2004.”