This is the fifth survey of staffing (consultants and senior registrars) in cardiology in the United Kingdom. Data from previous years--including the fourth survey (1986) that was not published separately--are used to show the trends over the past decade. In 1988 there were less than six cardiologists per million population. The United Kingdom, with Ireland, has fewer cardiologists than all other European countries with reliable figures. The ratio for Europe as a whole is approximately 45 per million population; the recommended figure for the United States of America is 60 per million. The distribution of cardiologists in England and Wales is still very uneven. Seven million people--nearly 15% of the population--have no immediate access to special expertise in cardiology. Women are particularly poorly represented in the specialty. This survey indicates that the crisis in staffing for cardiology continues. It will worsen as the possibilities grow for effective management of heart disease and as needs increase with the greater average age of the population. Resolution of this crisis should be a major priority in policies aimed at countering the ravages of heart disease.
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