To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department will take to expand the NHS workforce in England.
1 February 2023
We are continuing to grow the National Health Service workforce. As of November 2022, there were over 4,800 (3.8%) more full-time equivalent doctors and over 10,900 (3.5%) more full-time equivalent nurses from the previous year. Overall, there are over 41,800 (3.4%) more full-time equivalent staff working in the NHS.
Since September 2020 all eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students receive a non-repayable training grant of a minimum of £5,000 per academic year. Additional funding is available for those studying in certain disciplines, with further financial support available for childcare, accommodation costs and travel. For the third year we have seen over 26,000 acceptances to undergraduate Nursing and Midwifery programmes. There were 3,700 more acceptances in 2022 than in 2019, a 16% increase.
We are on track to recruit 50,000 more nurses across hospital and general practice settings by 2024, with over 38,000 more nurses in November 2022 compared with September 2019. The Government has also funded 1,500 more 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.
We are also expanding routes into professional roles in the NHS. Funding for up to 200 Medical Doctor Degree Apprentices has been confirmed as part of a pilot scheme, making careers in medicine more accessible and helping to boost the number of NHS doctors. The new Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship aims to provide an alternative route into medicine to deliver a workforce that is more representative of local communities.
Furthermore, the Government continues to expand NHS apprenticeship opportunities from entry level to postgraduate advanced clinical practice. A person can join the NHS as an entry level healthcare assistant apprentice with a view to eventually qualifying as a registered nurse. From August 2021 to June 2022 there were over 3,300 nursing degree apprenticeship starts.
To support long term workforce planning the Department has commissioned NHS England to develop a Long Term Workforce Plan looking at the next 15 years. The high level long term workforce plan will look at the mix and number of staff required across all parts of the country and will set out the actions and reforms that will be needed.