Education bosses have been given a year to draw up plans to reduce the NHS’s ‘reliance on international migration’ as part of health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s crackdown on trainees from outside the UK.
Requirements placed in Health Education England’s long-delayed mandate for April 2016 to March 2017 give until September 2017 to develop its plan.
This should plot a path for health and care jobs to be taken off the Shortage Occupation List, which allows supported migration for professionals in these roles, by 2019/20.
The mandate states: ‘As part of the development of the Workforce Plan for England 2017/18, continue to work with partners to meet the Government’s commitment to reduce the health and care sectors’ reliance on international migration to meet staffing demands and to produce a clear plan by September 2017 by which HEE intends to reduce the demand for international migrants to fill roles in the NHS so that roles can be removed from the Shortage Occupation List, including non-medical roles by 2019/20.’
This follows Mr Hunt’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference 2016 where he pledged to make the NHS self-sufficient in doctors by 2026.
This will be done by boosting medical school training places by up to 1,500, increasing fees for overseas students, and – for the first time – conscripting UK trained doctors to work for the NHS for four years.
The mandate commitments are in contrast to NHS England’s own drive to recruit more GPs from Europe, which Pulse has shown is continuing at pace.