Tories are patting themselves on the back for their new increase in medical school places announced by the Department of Health today. Unsurprisingly, the announcement is nothing but a sleight of hand, and NHS professionals nationwide are fuming.
The Health Sec to announce 500 extra medical school places for next year – the biggest expansion to the no. of doctor training places.
— John Howell (@JHowellUK) August 9, 2017
Whilst Tory John Howell MP was chuffed to bits, those 500 places are a THIRD of the 1,500 places Jeremy Hunt promised at the last party conference, and even then, BMA Chair Mark Porter explained that the policy would be totally inadequate:
“We desperately need more doctors, particularly with the Government plans for further seven-day services, but it will take a decade for extra places at medical school to produce more doctors. This initiative will not stop the NHS from needing to recruit overseas staff.”
— The BMA (@TheBMA) August 9, 2017
Hunt has also been forced to drop his proviso that newly trained doctors would have to undertake 4 years mandatory NHS service before taking overseas posts (a crisis that only came about due to widespread, debilitating Tory cuts), leaving overstretched departments now with neither a guarantee of sufficient staff numbers, nor investment in underfunded services.
Look at detail: govt only plans expanded medical student places by 2020, not to have increased Drs by then. Takes 5-6yrs to train a Dr
— Dr Ben White (@drbenwhite) August 9, 2017
This is all the more ironic, given the Tories cut medical school places back in 2012, to ensure “money is not wasted training more doctors than the NHS requires, who could end up having to go abroad to find work.”
Trainee Drs demoralised & resigned after strikes & med school places unfilled in 2016: Retain more not train more!!! https://t.co/8aMqVZ1CXf
— Christoph Lees (@Christoph_Lees) August 9, 2017
With NHS professionals forced into strike action over appalling pay, hours and working conditions, the NHS remains “underfunded, underdoctored, overstretched”; even with the meagre increase in medical places, Sustainability and Transformation Plans (Tory code for “massive cuts”) are due to further cut vital NHS services and staff.
— Shaun Lintern (@ShaunLintern) August 9, 2017