Received from: HCSA
The NHS workforce plan includes a commitment to double medical school places by 2031.
Congress welcomes the move to increase the pipeline of new doctors resourcing our NHS. The UK sits below OECD averages, with only 3.2 doctors per 1,000 patients. We are overtaken by countries such as Czech Republic, Spain and Austria.
Congress is dismayed by the scant detail on the proposal. There is no information on the specialties into which the new students will graduate. A 4 to 8 per cent shortfall of consultants is predicted by 2036/7. Without a plan for retention, we are simply filling up a leaky bucket.
Congress notes with concern plans to cut the medical degree from five to four years. The proposed internship will fast-track students onto our wards. The current five- or six-year medical degree is fast-paced and teaches vital skills. An internship has the potential for exploitation, while diverting learning time into plugging workforce gaps.
Congress believes plans to launch medical apprenticeships are also of concern. Congress, rigorous training standards must be met for patient safety and to maintain the UK’s record of producing excellent doctors with internationally recognised qualifications.
Congress calls upon the General Council to:
i. voice concern over the impact on training standards and patient safety of new initiatives such as medical internships and apprenticeships;
ii. lobby for rigorous workforce planning to be undertaken to provide training places for the new cohort of medical students and retain senior doctors to train them.