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Doctors: Training

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL17772, tabled on 5 September 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the NHS is taking to increase the number of trainee doctors recruited each year.

Answered on

9 September 2019

The Government has committed to an extra 1,500 undergraduate medical school places - a 25% increase taking the total number of medical school training places in England to 7,500. The first 630 places were taken up in September 2018 with a further 690 places available in September 2019. The remaining additional 180 places will have been made available by universities by 2020/21. By 2020, five new medical schools will have opened in England to help deliver the expansion.

Following graduation from medical school, eligible applicants are allocated a place on the United Kingdom Foundation Programme.

The number of medical specialty training places that are available each year is set by Health Education England and based on their assessment of service gaps and predicted workforce needs.

The NHS Long Term Plan set out the need to ensure a sustainable overall balance between supply and demand across all staff groups. For doctors, it also focussed on reducing geographical and specialty imbalances. Subsequently, the interim NHS People Plan set out the action we will take now and over the long term to meet the challenges of supply, reform, culture and leadership, and changes in demand for health care. Actions include reviewing what further expansion in undergraduate medical places will be needed, in light of future plans made locally by sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems; and the establishment of a national programme board to address geographic and specialty shortages in doctors.