News ID: 169789
Published: 0233 GMT October 04, 2016

UK’s student doctor numbers to rise by 25%

UK’s student doctor numbers to rise by 25%

The number of medical school places will increase by 25 percent from 2018 under plans to make England ‘self-sufficient’ in training doctors.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to announce an expansion in training places from 6,000 to 7,500 a year, BBC wrote.

He believes increasing the number of home-grown doctors will be essential given the aging population .

There is also concern it will become more difficult to recruit doctors trained abroad in the future.

About a quarter of the medical workforce is trained outside the UK, but the impact of Brexit and a global shortage of doctors could make it harder to recruit so many in the future.

The increase also comes after the health secretary has spent a year at loggerheads with junior doctors over the pressures being placed on them to fill rota gaps.

Medical degrees take five years to complete, so it will be 2024 before the impact of these extra places is felt.

But Hunt will tell the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday: "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 stay post-Brexit.

"But is it right to import doctors from poorer countries that need them while turning away bright home graduates desperate to study medicine?"

Hunt will say the steps will mean that by the end of the next Parliament the NHS in England will be ‘self-sufficient’ when it comes to training doctors.

There is widespread agreement that the NHS is facing a crisis when it comes to doctor shortages. It is one of the underlying reasons why the dispute between the government and junior doctors has been so bitter.

So news that the number of training places is to increase by 25 percent is certainly being welcomed by many. But whether it is enough is another matter.

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