Workforce and job planning

Physician workforce

The number of clinical geneticists 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. 


Regional variance

Although the number of consultants for London is greater than other areas of the UK, they serve a large population including Kent, Essex, Surrey, Hampshire etc, and overall staffing is not higher based on population served. The devolved nations have the highest number of physicians per population. 

Job planning

The Clinical Genetics Society guide to consultant job planning (opens PDF, 55.43KB) covers the range of activities undertaken by the specialty. 

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.  

Programmed activities (PAs)

  • The number of direct clinical care sessions (DCCs) per week: 7.5 including admin. Admin is usually 1/6th PA per timetabled session. It is generally recommended that for each clinic session there is an admin session for pre-clinic preparation/background reading and dictation. The general recommendation is 2–3 clinics per week for a full-time consultant depending on other commitments.
  • The number of supporting professional activities (SPAs) is usually 2.5, including 1.5 CPD for activities related to revalidation. In some trusts the core is 1 SPA, with additional SPA time allocated for specific roles/research.
  • The DCC/SPA ratio for new consultants is 7.5 DCC : 2.5 SPA, although in practice this may be 8:2.
  • Senior consultants may have 1 SPA as core and anything additional has to be justified, so in theory the ratio will be 9:1, but in practice most consultants will have other roles and responsibilities. 

There is usually no out-of-hours on-call commitment for most centres. In general, there is no commitment to general internal medicine by clinical geneticists. 

Clinical genetics is a small specialty and there are many additional roles (regional, national, international) as detailed in the Clinical Genetics Society guidance (opens PDF, 55.43KB).


  • A reasonable ratio of new to follow-up appointments is 4:1 or 3:2.
  • Outpatient clinic sizes should be 4–6 patients per clinic
  • Inpatient numbers are mostly zero, although ward consults are undertaken.