An increase of 500 places at medical schools across England has been confirmed by the government for 2018.
This is good news but the public should be aware that this will not mean an immediate improvement on waiting lists and treatment times. The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that the increase on student places will not have an immediate impact on shortages.
Harrison Carter from the BMA 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.”
At the moment roughy 6,000 doctors graduate each year after spending at least five years training. With the extra places promised for next year, and the year-on-year increases promised, there should eventually be 7,500 UK trained doctors graduating each year.
A quarter of all doctors working in the NHS received their training outside the UK. Also each year a number of UK trained doctors do also eventually end up leaving to practice abroad. With Brexit looming and health care staff planning to move away from the UK the shortfall could prove to be a lot worse than estimated.