New data published by the Association of British Neurologists (ABN) shows that the UK’s workforce of consultant neurologists is significantly lower than might be expected. In comparison to France and Germany, our workforce is considerably lower, even in London and the surrounding areas where ratios of patient to consultant are better. 

The ABN conducted a workforce survey recently, polling almost half of all consultant neurologists (46%) and more than a third of neurology trainees (35%). 

They found that the number of full time equivalent (FTE) neurology consultants involved in patient care sits at a ratio of 1.1 per 100,000, or 1 per 91,175 population. This is despite the UK having a relatively good density of medical doctors across the board, calculated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as 28 per 10,000 of the population.

This figure is shockingly low when compared to European countries with a similar economic status like France and Germany. Both countries have a ratio of over 1 FTE neurologist to a 25,000 population – more than three times smaller than our own.

Identifying an emerging workforce crisis, the ABN highlighted that there has been both an increase in newly appointed part-time consultants and in the number of early retirements. This has left huge gaps in the workforce with some areas of the country experiencing long-standing vacancies.

The report suggests that not enough new neurologists are being trained to stem emerging workforce problems.

  

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Giles Elrington

Plus ca change… back in the 1990s we were struggling to get to one neurologist per 100,000 population. My new 1993 post was 1:330,000. Now 1:100,000 appears insufficient. The question arises whether it is possible to accommodate demand, or whether (as with road building) demand is stimulated by supply. It would be helpful to establish a target number of neurologists per head of population. The Franco-German figure of fewer than 1:25,000 quoted in the ABN paper is unlikely to be accepted by NHS Trusts & CCGs. I suggest 1:50,000 as a realistic target. Diminution of early retirement, and of part… Read more »