Sunak launches an ambitious 15-year plan to increase the number of doctors and nurses in the UK

LONDON, June 30 British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday presented an ambitious 15-year plan for Public Health (NHS, for its English acronym), which aims to “train, retain and reform” the health service, which is currently mired in serious trouble. Crisis due to staff shortages and long waiting lists.

The plan, which makes no mention of salary improvements, seeks to expand undergraduate places to study medicine, reduce those studies by one year — from five to four years — and increase training places for nursing assistants as well as dentists.

NHS care is one of the problems facing the United Kingdom, which deepened after the pandemic crisis, which led to waiting lists for medical care, to which is added the resentment and frustration of professionals in this sector due to low wages and long working hours.

In recent months, some sectors, such as nurses and resident doctors, have gone on strike to demand salary increases due to the year-on-year increase in inflation, which reached 8.7%.

With the scheme unveiled today, which the government described as historic, the authorities are seeking to reduce reliance on hiring doctors and nurses from abroad to 9 or 10.5%, with an estimated 25% of staff recruited by the NHS currently coming from outside British borders.

The CEO is confident that in the next 15 years the NHS will have at least 60,000 additional doctors and 170,000 additional nurses.

To do this, it seeks to double medical school training places to 15,000 by 2031, with more places in areas of the country with the greatest shortages of doctors and nearly double the number of training places for nurses by 2031.

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Sunak revealed the plan today at his official residence in Downing Street, and noted that the purpose of the NHS, which was set up in 1948, had not changed, but that the “challenges” to public health had, given an aging population.

Sunak said NHS workers have told him they need more staff, doctors and nurses to relieve pressure.

“We need reform. It is not right that we do not train enough people here at home,” he added.

Currently, one in 10 positions in health remains unfilled – and it’s estimated there are more than 110,000 vacancies – so without concrete action, the experts’ long-term calculation is that this could rise to 360,000 by 2037.

To help achieve the targets, the government has pledged an additional £2.4 billion (€2.76 billion) over the next few years. EFE


Sacha Woodward

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