Workforce and job planning

Physician workforce

The number of immunologists 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

Consultants in immunology typically spend around 70–80% of their job plan on direct patient-focused care and 20–30% on laboratory-focused activity (result interpretation, clinical liaison, research, and quality assurance).

The number of consultants required for 500,000 population is 1.0, typically located in a university/medical school/tertiary centre setting. This facilitates innovation/development of new laboratory methodologies in collaboration with medical school centred academics.

Joint academic/NHS appointments are strongly encouraged but NHS time provision overall must be sufficient to cover the clinical workload of one whole-time equivalent (WTE) (eg two appointments, 0.5 WTE NHS and one 50% NHS / 50% academic with 0.5 full-time academic would be an acceptable equivalent).


Consultants may deliver both central (including regional rare disease) clinics and outreach clinics:

  • New patients: 4–5 new referrals per clinic depending on complexity including one slot for urgent cases (30–45 minutes per patient on average)
  • Review clinics: 5–6 patients per clinic (20–30 minutes per patient on average)
  • Mixed clinics: one new patient takes the time of two review patients, but this depends on the casemix.

The number of patients seen in consultant clinics needs to be reduced from the recommendations above if the consultant is supporting and training junior staff (by about 20%) or supervising nurse-led clinics.