Government announces 'biggest ever' increase in student doctor places
The Government has announced the "biggest ever" boost to the number of medical school places available next year as it looks to increase NHS staff numbers.
The figure is still well short of the Department of Health's target of raising numbers by 1,500 a year - an aim it says will be met by 2020.
Ministers also want to use the increase in numbers to get more students from disadvantaged backgrounds into the profession and make the NHS more diverse.
Medical schools who show they are trying to attract people from under-represented areas, including rural and coastal areas, will be favoured in the allocation of the extra places.
But the British Medical Association, the trade union for the medical profession, warned the changes would not tackle shorter term staffing challenges.
Harrison Carter, who co-chairs the BMA student committee, said: "The students who will benefit from these new placements will take at least 10 years to train and become senior doctors so we mustn't forget this promise won't tackle the immediate shortage of doctors in the NHS which could become more acute following Brexit."
Health minister Philip Dunne emphasised the scale and scope of the changes being brought in, saying:
"Not only is this the biggest ever expansion to the number of doctor training places, but it's also one of the most inclusive; ensuring everyone has the chance to study medicine regardless of their background, and ensuring the NHS is equipped for the future with doctors serving in the areas that need them the most."
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