Health Secretary ‘fooling no one’ with 205 medical school places, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Monday 2 October 2023
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Responding to the expected announcement of 205 new medical school places by the Health and Social Care Secretary tomorrow (Tuesday), Dr Emma Runswick, BMA council deputy chair, said:

“With more than 10,800 doctor vacancies in England’s hospitals alone1, these additional 205 places a year are a drop in the ocean. The Health Secretary is fooling no one if he thinks this is the answer to the NHS’s medical workforce crisis – while he simultaneously refuses to talk with the doctors we already have.

“We desperately need to attract and recruit more doctors, but most crucially we need to keep the doctors working in the NHS right now, and to do that we need to ensure they’re valued appropriately.  You can’t fill a leaky bucket without plugging holes in the bottom2.

“Our message is clear, if the Government is serious about fixing doctor shortages, it needs to get around the table and reverse the years of pay cuts they’ve imposed. Our door is open.”


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. 

  1. NHS Digital Vacancy Statistics, June 2023.
  2. GMC data shows that in 2021, 10,000 doctors left the UK medical register. In 2022, 15% of doctors asked by the GMC said they had taken steps to leave.