Scottish Government attacks Jeremy Hunt doctor plan

Strikes He also declared victory in his battle with junior doctors over a seven-day NHS service
Strikes He also declared victory in his battle with junior doctors over a seven-day NHS service

06 October, 2016

There is also concern it will become more hard to recruit doctors trained overseas in the future. Lifting it will ensure NHS England has the doctors it needs for the future, with hospitals expected to have to look after one million more over-75s within the next five years, he will say. What we want is for them to guarantee us a period of service in the NHS in return.

The increase also comes after the government has spent a year at loggerheads with junior doctors over the pressures being placed on them to fill rota gaps.

He plans a 25 percent increase in British medical students starting in 2018.

Mr Hunt told the Mail on Sunday: "I think people will ask whether it is right when we are turning away bright British youngsters from medical school - who might get three A-stars (at A-level) but still can't get in - at the same time we are importing people from all over the world".

He acknowledges that it will take "a number of years" before graduates qualify as doctors but he promised that by the end of the next Parliament, "we will make the NHS self-sufficient in doctors".

Some relatives of foreign-trained doctors expressed dismay at what they see as a slap in the face for doctors who have given decades of service to the NHS.

The union's junior doctor committee chairwoman Dr Ellen McCourt said that the Government was "ploughing ahead" with the new deal "ignoring the outstanding areas of concern raised by junior doctors". But whether it is enough is another matter.

It has also provided an email template for juniors to notify their HR directors that they are "working under protest" if they do not wish to accept the 2016 terms and conditions of service.

This is despite huge numbers being recruited from overseas.

Yet with large numbers of current doctors due to retire and others leaving the NHS for other countries and opportunities, it is unclear whether the increase in medical students will have a significant impact.

The future, of course, is fraught with difficulties.

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Medical organisations welcomed what the British Medical Association said was Hunt's belated recognition that the NHS is under-doctored, especially in specialities such as A&E, paediatrics, anaesthesia and psychiatry.

The government's plan will see an expansion in training places from 6,000 to 7,500 a year.

NHS hospitals rely heavily on foreign doctors, who now make up 25% of the medical workforce, and spend £3.3 billion a year on agency staff, including locums.

While it is welcome that he has finally admitted the government has failed to train enough doctors to meet rising demand, this announcement falls far short of what is needed.

"The government's poor workforce planning has meant that the health service is now facing huge and predictable staff shortages", he said.

Hunt is expected to tell the Conservative party conference in Birmingham that an extra 1,500 students will start medical school in the 2018/19 academic year, compared with this year.

"Sooner or later the plane will plunge into the sea, or in Mr Hunts case, the NHS will plunge and is plunging into an oblivion of unsafe and unstaffed care".

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged to end NHS England's reliance on foreign doctors by increasing numbers trained in medical schools by 25%.

"The medical profession are at war", says the Daily Telegraph after the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges announced it did not consider the planned strikes "proportionate".

She added: "The idea we can be self-sufficient in medical staff is ridiculous".

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