20.06.2024

PM to pledge £1billion to train tens of thousands of extra nurses, midwives, doctors and dentists

The Prime Minister hopes the extra funding will help fix the staffing crisis as it battles to meet demand with 112,000 vacancies. Proposals still under discussion include a doubling of medical school places for doctors to 15,000 by 2028/29.

As part of the workforce plan, 24,000 nurses and midwives would be trained by 2030, with 2,000 more trainee GPs and thousands more dentists.

Doctors and nurses degree apprenticeships will increase, with those enrolled learning on the job.

Rishi Sunak will pledge £1billion to train tens of thousands of extra nurses, midwives, doctors and dentists over the next five years

However, the Treasury is understood to have resisted calls for the 15-year plan to be fully funded, according to the Sunday Times.

Rishi Sunak will pledge £1billion to train tens of thousands of extra nurses, midwives, doctors and dentists over the next five years

It said Jeremy Hunt, who backed calls for a long-term workforce plan before he became Chancellor, has pushed for higher spending, but has faced opposition from Treasury officials over committing billions beyond the next Government spending review in 2025.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has demanded the NHS improve productivity and efficiency in return for the increase in its budget.

The plan, which has been repeatedly delayed, is being finalised by Mr Sunak and could be announced by July 5 – the 75th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.

Mr Hunt has been negotiating the plan directly with Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, the Sunday Times added.

The Prime Minister hopes the extra funding will help fix the NHS staffing crisis as it battles to meet demand with 112,000 vacancies (File image)

The Prime Minister hopes the extra funding will help fix the NHS staffing crisis as it battles to meet demand with 112,000 vacancies (File image)

Mr Sunak and senior ministers are believed to be concerned the costs could eat into the Government’s ability to cut taxes before the next election. The Treasury has committed only to funding training costs for the next five years, putting the later stages at potential risk. If fully funded, the cost would reach several billions.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents trusts, said: ‘NHS trusts, their leaders, staff, patients and communities will all be disappointed if a fully funded plan isn’t published imminently.

‘The plan is meant to represent the cavalry arriving over the hill. If not fully funded then there is no guarantee the cavalry is coming.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘The NHS will publish a long-term workforce plan to recruit and retain more staff. The Government will bring forward this plan shortly but will not comment on speculation.’

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