Health & Lifestyle

NHS will push to recruit UK staff with the organisation’s largest ever training drive

NHS will push to recruit UK staff with the organisation’s largest ever training drive to reduce reliance on foreign staff and tackle waiting lists

  • Cap on medical school places set to be doubled in England from 7,500 to 15,000
  • The plan will allow a greater number of students to train as doctors

The NHS will undergo a recruitment drive as part of the ‘largest expansion in training and workforce’ in its history, Rishi Sunak has announced.

The Prime Minister said the plan will ‘reduce our reliance’ on foreign staff, while also helping to tackle chronic NHS waiting lists.

The cap on medical school places is set to be doubled from 7,500 in England to 15,000, allowing a greater number of students to train as doctors.

The plan will be announced in full later this week.

But Mr Sunak told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show: ‘This week we’re going to do something that no government has ever done.

The cap on medical school places is set to be doubled from 7,500 in England to 15,000, allowing a greater number of students to train as doctors (Stock image)

The cap on medical school places is set to be doubled from 7,500 in England to 15,000, allowing a greater number of students to train as doctors (Stock image)

‘It’s going to be one of the most significant announcements in the history of the NHS, and that is to make sure that it has a long-term workforce plan so that we can hire the doctors, nurses and GPs that we need, not just today, but for years into the future, to provide the care that we all need.’

He added: ‘What it will represent is the largest expansion in training and workforce in the NHS’s history.’ But he conceded the changes might take up to 15 years for patients to feel the benefits.

Mr Sunak has made tackling NHS waiting lists one of his five priorities. Yet the number of people in England waiting for routine operations has soared to a record high. Official figures show 7.33million people were left waiting for operations such as hip and knee replacements at the end of March this year – the highest total since NHS records began in August 2007.

Mr Sunak said the backlog was partly down to the coronavirus pandemic. He added: ‘The backlog that ensued was always going to take some time to work through.

‘Because of our record investment today, because of the plans that we’ve put in place, we are seeing that waiting lists are coming down for individual people.

‘I’ve always said the overall waiting list was not going to come down until next year.’

Rishi Sunak told the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show: 'This week we're going to do something that no government has ever done'

Rishi Sunak told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show: ‘This week we’re going to do something that no government has ever done’

Mr Sunak, the son of a GP and a pharmacist, described the plan as the ‘cornerstone’ of his Government’s vision for ‘a better, more modern healthcare system’, adding: ‘I feel a great responsibility to ensure our NHS endures.’

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said ‘significant investment’ would be made ‘so we can begin the process of ensuring the NHS workforce is ready to meet the future challenges’.

The announcement of the long-term plan for the future of the NHS follows a decision by junior doctors in England to stage a five-day strike next month in a dramatic escalation of their long- standing dispute with the Government over pay and staffing.

Members of the British Medical Association will walk out from July 13 to 18 in what the association said is thought to be the longest single period of industrial action in the history of the health service.

Lung cancer could be caught early in up to 9,000 people a year under a screening programme set to be rolled out nationwide.

The NHS will invite around 325,000 people for their first lung scan each year, offering checks to any current and former smokers aged 55 to 74. It follows a successful opening phase by NHS England, in which 76 per cent of lung cancers found in those tested were caught at an earlier stage.

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