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Consultant Rheumatologists

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the number of consultant rheumatologists; and if he will make a statement. [101658]

[holding answer 7 March 2003]: Between 1997 and 2002, the number of consultants in rheumatology has increased by 90, or 26.5 per cent., from 340 in September 1997 to 430 in March 2002.We are also increasing specialist registrars (SpR) numbers. For 2003–04, trusts will have scope to create up to 40 locally funded SpR training opportunities in the specialty.Current workforce projections indicate that by September 2004, there will be around 80 additional trained specialists in rheumatology over September 2000 levels.