To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the shortage of GPs and other healthcare staff.
7 September 2022
We are working with NHS England, Health Education England and the profession to increase the general practice workforce in England. This includes measures to increase recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession and encourage them to return to practice. The 2020 updated GP Contract Framework announced a number of new retention schemes alongside continued support for existing schemes for the general practice workforce. We have also increased the number of general practitioner (GP) training places. In 2021/22, 4,000 trainees accepted a GP training place – an increase from 2,671 in 2014.
To support the recruitment of other healthcare professionals in general practice, the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme provides funding for 26,000 additional roles to create bespoke multi-disciplinary teams. The Scheme is expanding to include more roles to reduce the shortages of non-clinical roles within primary care. While the Scheme initially included five roles, this has increased to 15 in the 2022/23 contract. As of June 2022, there were 30,824 full time equivalent (FTE) direct patient care staff working in primary care - an increase of 19,305 FTE compared to March 2019.
There are currently 29,500 additional staff working in hospitals and commissioning support than a year ago, including over 9,600 more nurses and almost 4,100 more doctors. We are making good progress on the target to recruit a further 50,000 nurses and have recently expanded the number of medical school places. The Government is investing in and diversifying domestic training pipelines, including through the Learning Support Fund of non-repayable grants for student nurses studying in England, with all eligible students receiving at least £5,000 per year. We have funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places each year for domestic students in England – a 25% increase over three years. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and has delivered five new medical schools in England.