Ambitious and fully funded workforce plan needed to safeguard future of NHS, says BMA

BMA press release. 

Published: Thursday 23 February 2023
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Responding to reports that the NHS workforce plan, due to be published next month, will including the doubling of medical school places and thousands of medical apprenticeships, BMA workforce lead Dr Latifa Patel said:

“At a time when workforce shortages are crippling the NHS, the commitment to the expansion of medical school places is promising, but words alone are no good - we need to see the publication of the long-awaited NHS workforce plan, without delay.

“Making the right workforce decisions now will safeguard the future of the NHS, as the Chancellor made clear when he led efforts to amend the Health and Care Act to tie the Government to providing fully published, independent workforce assessments. Now he is in a position to do so, it is crucial that the Chancellor makes good on his promises and delivers a plan that is independently verified with fully published modelling to give true projections of workforce needs and ensure transparency. To have any teeth and deliver on what it sets out to, the plan must also be backed up with the necessary funding.   

“Many questions still remain about the place of medical degree apprenticeships in the UK medical education. It remains to be seen whether future apprentices, medical schools and employing organisations can navigate the complexity of implementing medical degree programmes to meet individual apprenticeship needs, while adhering to the exact same high standards of training experienced by traditional medical students. It is therefore deeply concerning to see such an emphasis being placed on an untested route into the medical profession.

“As well as ensuring that we can retain the current workforce by awarding fair pay for the work they do and restoring years of pay cuts, failure to invest in the future medical workforce places the NHS and patients at great risk.  We need to see a workable, ambitious, fully funded plan, otherwise it will just be empty words.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.