§ Dr. Roger Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider making extra money available for the funding of consultant posts which have been already approved, but which are empty; by how many consultant posts have increased between 1971 and 1981; and whether that rate of increase is being maintained.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
A recent inquiry of health authorities showed that only a small proportion of unfilled consultant posts were vacant due to lack of funding. We shall, however, shortly be asking regional health authority chairmen to ensure that, where they have resources which they wish to devote on increased medical manpower, these should be concentrated on creating new consultant posts.
Over the 10 years to 30 September 1981 the number of consultants in posts in medical specialties in England and Wales grew by 2,984, an average annual increase of 298. The increase over the year to 30 September 1982, which is the most recent period for which data are available, was 216.