Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveil new scheme to add more seats at medical schools…reports Asian Lite News
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces workforce reforms that ensure the NHS is able to meet future demand for patient care by dramatically expanding our supply of home-grown doctors.
Mr Hunt gave the Government’s commitment to fund the training of up to an additional 1,500 students through medical schools, places students will be able to apply for in 2017/18 and take up in the academic year 2018/19.
He pledged to reform the current cap on the total number of places that medical schools can offer, which is set at just over 6,000 a year – currently, universities are forced to turn away half of those who apply to study medicine. We want to allow all domestic students with the skills and capability to train as a doctor to have the chance to do so.
As a result, we will ensure the NHS has the doctors it needs for the future, meaning families can feel secure that the NHS will be able to carry on giving the high quality care we all depend on. Our ageing population means that in five years’ time we will be looking after another million over 75s in our hospitals.
“Currently, we rely heavily on doctors from overseas, who now comprise 25% of the medical workforce – and are often taken from developing countries who need them – as well as expensive agency staff. Last year hospitals spent £3.3 billion on agency staff, including £1.2 billion on medical locums, money which would be better invested in patient care,” he said.
The World Health Organisation says that there is now a global shortage of more than 2 million doctors – meaning self-sufficiency will be more important in the years ahead.
Speaking at Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Health Secretary said: “As well as delivering higher standards today, we need to prepare the NHS for the future – which means doing something we have never done properly before: training enough doctors. Currently a quarter of our doctors come from overseas. They do a fantastic job and we have been clear that we want EU nationals who are already here to be able to stay post-Brexit. But is it right to import doctors from poorer countries that need them whilst turning away bright home graduates desperate to study medicine?”
“From September 2018, we will train up to 1500 more doctors every year, increasing the number of medical school places by up to a quarter. Of course it will take a number of years before those doctors qualify, but by the end of the next parliament we will make the NHS self- sufficient in doctors,” he added.
In order to ensure these reforms deliver for the taxpayer, the Government will also require for the first time that all those trained as doctors on the NHS will be required to work in the NHS for a minimum of four years after graduation. This mirrors the approach taken for those whose higher education was funded by the Armed Forces. It currently costs the taxpayer £220,000 to produce a graduate from medical school.
Three weeks ago, Oxford University topped the Times Higher’s rankings as the world’s best university. Our medical schools have an outstanding international reputation, and these changes will in part be funded by charging international students for the totality of their training, including clinical placements which they do not currently pay for.
Where universities opt to offer increased numbers of medical student places, as a condition the Government will ask for assurances that they are offering opportunities to children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and we will consult on this requirement.
Since 2010, we have almost 8,800 more doctors and nearly 5,600 more nurses and midwives on our wards. The NHS in England performed 4,400 more operations a day and treated on average 21,000 more out-patients a day last year compared to 2010. And underpinned by a strong economy, we are investing an extra £10 billion a year by 2020 in the NHS – far more than the £2.5 billion Labour promised at the last election.