Government pledges 1,500 more doctors for NHS

9 Aug 17

An extra 1,500 doctors will be trained each year by 2020 in what it bills as the “biggest ever” expansion of the medical workforce in England.

Ministers said this would represent a 25% increase in current numbers of domestic medical students, however NHS groups and doctors' leaders warned this would not meet the short-term shortage of staff.

From next year, existing medical schools will be able to offer an extra 500 places to future doctors, whilst the remaining 1,000 will be allocated across the country based on an open bidding process.

Health minister Philip Dunne, said: “We’re committed to giving more talented students the chance to be part of our world-class NHS workforce.

“Not only is this the biggest ever expansion to the number of doctor training places, but it’s also one of the most inclusive; ensuring everyone has the chance to study medicine regardless of their background, and ensuring the NHS is equipped for the future with doctors serving in the areas that need them the most.”  

There will be also be a focus on attracting trainees and graduate doctors to coastal and rural locations which have struggled to recruit the right calibre of staff.

The government said that as well as another 1,500 medical students, 10,000 additional training places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals will be funded, with some of the places available to students as soon as next month.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers and deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said he welcomed the move but stressed the need to forge a post-Brexit immigration system which “complements domestic efforts” on recruitment.

Harrison Carter, co-chair of the British Medical Association’s medical students committee, said: “The students who will benefit from these new placements will take at least 10 years to train and become senior doctors so we mustn't forget this promise won't tackle the immediate shortage of doctors in the NHS which could become more acute following Brexit.

“As such, we require equal focus on retaining existing doctors in high-quality jobs which will provide more immediate relief to an overstretched medical workforce.”

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