The Seventh Survey of Staffing in Cardiology was conducted with an index date of 31 July 1991. At that time the total number of posts for cardiologists in England and Wales, defined as individuals trained in the specialty and spending at least 40% of their professional time working in it, was 340. Ten individuals worked part time only, making 335 whole time equivalent posts. This number increased from 1990 by 15 (4·7%). There were 67 cardiologists in Scotland and Northern Ireland, making a total for the United Kingdom of 407 posts (402 whole time equivalents). Sixteen Districts in England and Wales had no cardiologist at the time of the survey, and 31 other Districts had less than seven visiting sessions each week. The situation had not improved since the 1990 survey. The population of these 47 Districts is nearly nine million. Scotland had almost 800 000 additional people served by Health Boards without resident cardiologists.
The number of senior registrars and lecturers is inadequate to provide a full period of training for most who advance to consultant status, and the situation will worsen from 1995 onwards. A major problem has been a top slice of 10 posts for a research allocation, few of which are occupied by individuals seeking a career in the specialty. These posts should be redesignated to increase training opportunities to counter the present shortfall and facilitate an expansion in consultant posts of at least 5% per annum over the next decade.