The Daily Telegraph

NHS chief calls for increase in training of British medics

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

NHS England must train more doctors and nurses in Britain and reduce its reliance on foreign staff, its chief executive has said.

More medical school places are needed to stop British candidates being turned away because courses are full, Amanda Pritchard said.

She added that she wanted to stop spending £3billion a year on agency staff who should be the exception rather than the rule.

In an interview with The Times, Ms Pritchard also admitted that patients were dying because of record waiting times in emergency care.

NHS England has more than 133,000 unfilled vacancies, with staff and unions warning of burned-out staff leaving the health service or moving to other English-speaking countries in search of better pay and working conditions.

The 7,500 medical school places on offer in the UK each year are oversubscr­ibed, with “excellent” candidates being turned away, Ms Pritchard said.

The NHS will be “very ambitious” in increasing the number of homegrown recruits, she told The Times.

“There’s no lack of demand,” she said. “We are seeing universiti­es having to turn away excellent people, not just for medical degrees but nursing, therapy – across the board.

“Obviously you’re also looking at the ability of universiti­es to ramp up the training places and of the NHS to make sure we’ve got the right clinical places, but over the next few years we would want to be in a position where we were increasing­ly able to be self-reliant on a workforce that would meet demand.”

Figures released this week showed Accident and Emergency wait times last month were the worst on record.

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