Government announce 'biggest ever' expansion plans for the NHS

11th August 2017

Following a consultation, the Department of Health has confirmed that an additional 1,500 doctors a year will be trained in the National Health Service (NHS) by 2020. It is the biggest ever expansion to the NHS's medical workforce in England.

Existing medical schools will be able to offer an extra 500 places to future doctors from next year, whilst the remaining 1,000 places will be allocated across the country based on an open bidding process. The Higher Education Funding Council for England and Health Education England will supervise the bidding process.

The extra places will be targeted at under-represented social groups such as lower income students, as well as regions that usually struggle to attract trainee medics.

Philip Dunne, the Health Minister confirmed that the Government will fund 10,000 extra training places for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals.

The Executive Director of Education and Quality & National Medical Director, HEE, Professor Wendy Reid said that the extra places would help the NHS meet the diverse healthcare needs of patients "up and down the country.

Responding to the government announcement, the Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that NHS needs thousands more doctors, particularly thousands more GPs to make sure that the NHS has a future workforce able to keep up with growing patient demand as the population continues to increase and as people live longer.

The BMA committee co-chair also argued that the students who will benefit from the new placements will take at least ten years to train and become seniors, adding that the promise won’t tackle the current shortage of doctors in the NHS that could be worsened by EU workers leaving after Brexit.

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