UCL Medical School News
Athena Swan Silver Award

Medical schools encouraged by increase of women in academic posts

26 October 2012

Figures published today by the Medical Schools Council show the rate of increase in the number of women in post has seen significant growth.

Since 2004 there has been a 43% total increase of female clinical academic Lecturers in UK medical schools, from 175 to 251, and a 33% increase of women across clinical academic medicine. This suggests a hugely positive platform for addressing the long-standing imbalance of genders in the area, with initiatives such as mentoring and the Athena SWAN award looking to recognise and build on this success.

There has also been a 34% increase in the overall number of Lecturers in academic medicine since 2006, from 396 to 531 Full-Time Equivalents. Over the same period NHS funding for Lecturer posts has increased 116%, indicating that funding schemes across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have had a dramatic effect on expanding the entry into clinical academia. It is hoped that such increases, when combined with the continued stability of the clinical academic team’s age profile, will in the long term work to reduce the risk of losing expertise and leadership through retirement.

Other key findings of the Medical Schools Council survey as at 31 July 2011 are:

  • There were 3162 FTE clinical academics employed by the 34 UK universities with medical schools
  • There was a greater ethnic mix among clinical academics of Lecturer grade (64% white, 37% non-white) than at any other grade
  • 71% of clinical academic Consultants held a national CEA, Distinction or Merit Award, compared with 61% of NHS Consultants
  • Total clinical academic staff numbers had remained steady, with 3162 Full-Time Equivalents, marking the end of a four-year increase
  • Several schools reported difficulties in recruitment for specialties such as Emergency Medicine, Oncology, Surgery and Paediatrics & Child Health
  • Clinical academic staff numbers had not kept up with the increase in the number of NHS consultants

Professor Tony Weetman, Chair of the Medical Schools Council, said ‘A career in clinical academia is one of the most rewarding in the medical profession, with its mix of research and teaching ensuring that innovation is always at the heart of patient care. In particular we are extremely pleased with the continued growth of women’s roles in post, this coming as the result of many important and forward-thinking initiatives.

‘But there is still a long way to go, with this and many other issues, and in the face of ongoing cuts to health and higher education budgets it is of the upmost importance to continue strengthening our relationships with the NHS, medical charities and funding councils. Through this we can maintain the high quality of research and teaching conducted by the clinical academics who are so essential to the health of UK medicine.’

Hard copies to follow. The survey can be accessed online here.

For more Information, please contact Edward Knight (Communications and Website Officer, MSC) at edward.knight@medschools.ac.uk, or call on 020 7419 5427.