New research has found that location is the most important factor to professionals looking at consultant positions.
According to the latest census of consultant physicians in the UK, specialist registrars most want to stay close to where they trained when looking at potential new roles.
Conducted by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the study also found that part-time working is becoming a more popular option for medical professionals as they seek the advantages of being more flexible with their time.
The annual census of doctors training to be a consultant suggests that location is the leading consideration, even over the opportunity for part-time working, on-call responsibilities and the amount of generalist or specialist work undertaken.
This was supported by the strong geographical discrepancies in terms of the number of specialists available. In the North West and Yorkshire & Humber regions, for example, there was the greatest difficulty for recruiting consultants, while London and the Thames Valley regions had the highest levels of appointments. This is due to the latter two areas having the biggest number of training posts.
According to the study, there is also a growing demand for consultants who can treat the needs of the elderly, with the largest increase in appointments from 2014's census being in geriatric and acute medicine (113 and 108 respectively).
However, this demand could see an increased number of positions looking for more general professionals who are experienced in treating older patients. The study found that 65 per cent of people admitted to hospital were over 65 years old, while many presented a number of complex conditions. This indicates that someone with a more general and well-rounded approach could be more appropriate, rather than that of a specialist.
Talking about the new findings, Dr Harriet Gordon, director of the RCP’s Medical Workforce Unit, said the census "reinforces the fact that doctors prefer to work where they were trained and have set down roots", with location being the overriding factor.
As a result of this, appointments are still "biased towards areas like London and the South East", where the number of training posts is slightly higher, she added.
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