Five new medical schools are to be created in England as part of a government plan to increase the number training doctors.
While it will take five to six years before the extra doctors can join the NHS, shortages of nurses in England are set to continue thanks to bursary cuts – this year saw a dramatic decline in university applicants of nearly 25%.
The new schools target regions where it ‘can be hard to recruit new doctors’ according to health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who committed to making the UK self-sufficient in doctors by 2025.
‘Setting up five new medical schools is part of the biggest ever expansion of our medical and nursing workforce; which will help us deal with the challenges of having around one million more over-75s in 10 years’ time,’ continued Mr Hunt.
Schools opening in Sunderland, Lancashire, Lincoln, Canterbury and Chelmsford will increase student numbers by 1500 by 2020, with 630 starting this September.
This is the first time in 12 years that new medical schools have been created, and 90% of the students will be placed outside of London.
Last year the NHS lost around 1000 GPs as a result of workplace pressure and a lack of funding, which are the same reasons many nurses have chosen to leave – as well as insufficient salaries.
Scotland has committed to increasing the number of training nurses and midwives by 360 students with additional funding of 10.8%, and they have also retained bursaries and in some cases free tuition.
However, in England nursing shortages are amounting, with one in ten leaving each year according to figures from NHS Digital.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive, Janet Davies, said that they are ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses at a time where demand has never been higher.
‘The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving,’ she added.
With only 20.3% of those leaving being over 55 years old, new recruits and experienced nurses are choosing to leave. Actions are being taken to improve the number of doctors and nurses are in need of similar investments for the future of their profession.