Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that the number of medical training places will increase by 25% from 2018 in a bid to tackle the recruitment crisis in the NHS.
Speaking at the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Mr Hunt said that from September 2018; the government will fund up to 1,500 more doctors a year by increasing the number of medical school places. For the academic year 2018/19, students will be able to apply for the extra places from next year.
Mr Hunt also promised to reform the existing 6,000-a-year cap on training new doctors, allowing numbers to grow by as much as 25%. He claimed the new move will make NHS England "self-sufficient" in doctors by 2025.
Presently, medical schools can only provide places to half of those who apply to study medicine. Although, this new extra places will ensure that all local students with the capability to train as a doctor will have the chance to do so.
Dr Mark Porter, Chairman of British Medical Association (BMA) council said the additional training places fell "far short of what is needed”.
Professor Jane Dacre, President of Royal College of Physicians welcomed the new plans and said the increase in number of medical training places will help to reduce the pressure faced by the NHS in the long term, and support a more sustainable workforce.
The health secretary has also announced a new requirement for all doctors trained on the NHS to work for it for a minimum of 4 years after their graduation. If junior doctor work for less than four years and move abroad then they will have to repay the cost of their training.
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