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There has been long-standing interest in doctors' careers in the UK for a number of reasons. These include both NHS service and educational issues in training and providing a medical workforce to meet the healthcare needs of the population. The planning and provision of health services is fundamentally underpinned by the distribution of doctors: this includes the distribution of doctors by specialty, geographical location and grade. Medical school intakes are controlled by strict quota and, after qualification, the distribution of medical posts is also subject to planning mechanisms. Interests include:

  • perennial issues of workforce planning e.g. the maintenance of a sufficient supply of doctors to enable the NHS to meet its service commitments
  • current issues relating to internal (policy) changes or external (environmental) changes e.g. the introduction of Specialty Registrar training; changes in junior doctors' hours and patterns of working; societal change in the domestic roles of men and women; changing expectations in society generally in respect of the balance between work and family/leisure time
  • new initiatives being discussed and implemented in the NHS, whose implementation and outcome will need to be monitored