The number of “subconsultant” posts quadrupled in just four years in the UK. However, for a cash-restricted NHS, there are more applicants than there are available posts.
The final qualification for specialist training allowing junior doctors to apply for consultant posts is called, the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). The fourth annual survey of holders of the CCT, carried out by the Royal College of Physicians, shows that the proportion of newly qualified consultants gaining substantive posts rose by more than 6% to reach 62% in 2012.
The proportion of ‘’post CCT’’ jobs being advertised and accepted has also continued to rise, reaching 3.7% in 2012 – up from 0% in 2009, but the overall number of those obtaining these posts was lower than that of the previous year. Also, there is an increasing number of CCT-holders trying to enter the NHS. As a result, the job market for CCT holders remains less than ideal. Looking at job rejection rates, the highest rejection rate is for posts in gastroenterology, endocrinology and renal medicine. These specialties have a high number of trainees, as a result, a large number of CCT holders could end up without jobs, according to the report.
Tom Kane, deputy chair of the BMA Consultant Committee, believes there are substantive posts on offer but newly qualified consultants were also not keen to apply for them because CCT holders are increasingly reluctant to move miles away from where they were trained to get a consultant post. They are willing to accept jobs that don’t pay as well and carry less responsibility as long as they are able to remain in the area where they trained.