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The UK government has unveiled a long-awaited plan to recruit record numbers of doctors and nurses to its National Health Service.

The £2.4 billion blueprint could result in an extra 300,000 workers – 60,000 doctors, 170,000 nurses and 71,000 health staff – employed in the NHS in England over the next 15 years.

The plan to overhaul staffing is “the most radical modernisation and reform of the workforce since the NHS was founded in 1948”, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said as he promoted it on Friday.

It will help the service, which assesses and treats everyone in the country on average 10 times a year, meet the challenges of a growing and ageing population.

The Health Secretary described the programme as “the first time any government has ever published a comprehensive workforce plan of this nature”.

“It is a hugely important day for the NHS. It is something that many in the NHS have been asking for, for a long time, to have a long-term workforce plan,” he said.

“It is the biggest ever expansion in workforce training in the NHS’s history. It is backed up by £2.4 billion of additional funding over the next five years.

“And what it will do is train more staff, more doctors, more nurses, more midwives, but also give more opportunities to the staff within the NHS in terms of apprenticeships, developing more skills, their continual professional development.”

The government willl reform training programmes to ensure more efficient service delivery, .

“We recognise from the pandemic that there are big waiting lists, we’ve got a plan to clear those but in terms of the longer-term position of the NHS, we also need to boost our domestic training, and that is what the plan today sets out, that long-term vision for the NHS.”

He said the £2.4 billion funding over five years would operate on three broad planks of training, retention and reform to attract new workers.

Plans “embrace the very latest technological innovations” including artificial intelligence, speech recognition, robotic process automation and remote monitoring.

There will be:

Twice the number of undergraduate medical places – up to 15,000 a year
New medical schools
More training places for GPs, dentists, nurses and midwives
More clinical staff training through apprenticeships.
The plan, delayed for months amid speculation of a row between the Treasury and Department of Health over costs, will be scrutinised carefully by NHS leaders, staff and unions.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited the globally renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, to promote the plan.

“It’s about adapting to how people’s health needs to be treated and, if you talk to some of the people that I was talking to earlier, they’re doing all these new roles,” he said.

“We should be modernising the NHS so it’s fit for the future. Healthcare is evolving and the NHS needs to evolve with it, and that’s what the plan does.”

British society is growing older and the burden of illness is changing, the Prime Minister added.

“All of this will put pressure on an already overstretched workforce.”

Governments from all parties had “ducked” the workforce challenge for decades, he said, and “overcoming this won’t be quick or easy”.

Dental leaders have hit back at plans to “tie” them to working for the NHS, saying the answer is not to “handcuff the next generation to a sinking ship”.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said Labour had been calling on the government to adopt its plan for the biggest expansion of the NHS workforce in history.

“To be fair to the government, it looks like they’re about to adopt our plan, and that’s important because having had an understaffed NHS for more than a decade, and knowing how long it takes to train new doctors, new nurses, new midwives, it’s really important that we get our skates on as a country,” he said.

“And if the government have swallowed their pride and adopted our plan, why wouldn’t I welcome that?”

Source: https://destinydot.com/news/nhs-to-recruit-300000-doctors-nurses-and-health-workers-in-15-year-plan-2/

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