The Government’s new plan to fix ‘chronic’ staff shortages could see medical school places double and thousands of apprentice doctors trained directly on the job, reports today have suggested.
The Times reports that an NHS workforce plan is due to be published next month and it is expected to bring in the biggest boost in training for a generation and ‘radical changes’ to how the NHS recruits frontline staff.
During a meeting of the NHS board at the beginning of this month, chair Richard Meddings said the long-awaited long-term workforce plan was ‘in the very final stages of development’ and it will ‘underpin all of the transformation work that we do.’
According to The Times , the plan concludes that a ‘huge’ expansion of training will be needed to fix staff shortages, with both medical school places and adult nursing places ‘having to double by the end of the decade.’
This could mean about 15,000 medical school places a year, potentially requiring half a dozen new medical schools, and more than 50,000 nursing places.
The plan could also contain a blueprint for a ‘radical overhaul’ of professional structures and training, with more auxiliary roles and mid-level associate speciality doctors who are not planning to become consultants, as Pulse exclusively revealed last year.
One in eight new doctors could qualify through apprenticeships by the 2030s as the NHS aims to a new path into the medical profession, for people who do not come through the traditional A level route.
The plan is also likely to press ministers to resolve ongoing disputes about staff pay, following strikes announced by nurses, ambulance workers and junior doctors, and the BMA looking at more radical industrial action options for GPs.
A spokeswoman for the NHS told the Times that the NHS workforce plan is still being produced, hasn’t been finalised and will be published this spring.
NHS England is also currently working on a ‘primary care recovery plan’ similar to that already published for elective and urgent care.