Workforce and job planning

Physician workforce

The number of cardiologists recorded in the 2018–19 census of consultants and higher specialty trainees in the UK is: 



Proportion working less than full time (LTFT)




Higher specialty trainee



*HST LTFT percentages are calculated from JRCPTB data to give overall figures which may differ from those in the census

These figures relate to physicians who work substantively for the NHS.

Job planning

A consultant cardiologist’s job plan will include a range of activities depending on their sub-specialisation. Job plans will vary for individual consultants and hospitals. The job plan below is an example included as guidance and not intended to be prescriptive. Activities will vary according to population served, demographics and location. For further information, see the BMA/NHS Employers guidance from 2011.

Currently, most cardiologists have more than 10 programmed activities (PAs) in their job plan. Direct clinical care (DCC) will be dependent on individual job plans and comprise activities from the following list:

  • general and sub-specialty cardiology clinics
  • general and sub-specialty cardiology ward rounds
  • consultant of the week ward rounds and responsibilities and support for 7/7 cardiology work
  • specialist imaging sessions
  • specialist catheter laboratory sessions
  • MDT meetings including cardiac surgeons and others
  • supervision of specialist nurses and other team members
  • community working
  • on-call commitment, which in some sub-specialties will be high intensity
  • cardiology support for the acute medical take.

In a few circumstances job plans may include acute medicine / general internal medicine.

The model for delivering cardiological care differs widely across the UK with significant local and regional variation. Some centres will be relatively self-sufficient while smaller centres will work in a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model with larger regional centres.

Programmed activities

  • Number of DCCs per week: >7.5 and will include time for clinical administration
  • Number of SPAs is usually 2.5, including 1–1.5 for CPD activities related to revalidation, audit and quality improvement, research and education, training supervision of undergraduate students and postgraduate trainees.


Outpatient clinics

For a general cardiology clinic the new to follow-up ratio might approximate 1:6. However, for specialist clinics this number may be higher, and some services will have very little follow up, such as rapid access chest pain clinics.


The multidisciplinary team will generally be consultant led and include a combination of consultants with varying sub-specialty skills.

The team will also include:

  • trainee and non-training grade doctors
  • cardiac nurses, including advanced nurse practitioners
  • physician associates
  • administrative and secretarial support
  • cardiac physiologist
  • cardiac radiologists
  • radiographers.