Medical student England

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Government proposal to increase medical school places

Students chatting in corridor stgeorges210915

DoH consultation response

We have responded to the public consultation on expanding undergraduate medical education.

Read the consultation response

Engaged, not enlisted - read the blog post



The Secretary of State announced at the Conservative Party conference on 4 October, their pledge to increase the number of medical school places for 2018/19.

We have consistently raised concerns about the workforce crisis in the NHS and the pressure under which our healthcare system is currently operating.

While the government's proposal to increase medical school places is welcome, we cannot ignore the fact that it will take a decade to translate into more doctors.

We have written to the Government in response to their announcement.

Read the letter (PDF)


Five questions the Government must answer

View our digital feature following the health secretary's announcement of an expansion in medical school places.

See our questions


Media coverage

Jeremy Hunt's plans to increase the number of places at medical schools and lock doctors in to work in the NHS for four years, were widely reported across national and regional print and broadcast media.

  • Broadcasts

    Across national and regional media, Dr Mark Porter argued that an increase in medical places should not be seen as an alternative to the recruitment of overseas doctors.

    On the Today programme he warned:

    "To simply close our borders ... and stop the interchange of doctors would be a bad thing for patient care.

    "We should have a health service that doctors want to work in, not a health service they have to be forced to work in."


    Dr Porter did interviews with BBC News, BBC Breakfast, BBC 5Live, LBC, BBC WM, R4 Today Programme, Sky news, Channel 5 news. This footage was also used by channel 4 and ITV.

    Dr Ellen McCourt, Junior Doctor Committee chair, did interviews with BBC Cornwall, BBC WM, BBC Humberside, BBC Merseyside, BBC Berkshire, Talk Radio, BBC Radio Solent, and BBC Radio Oxford.

    Dr Krishna Kasaraneni from GPC was interviewed on BBC Look North.

  • Online news

    A fully sufficient 'home-grown' NHS would be bad for medicine and patient care
    Huffington Post, Tuesday 4 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter – blog)

    Scepticism over governments plans to train more home-grown doctors
    The Lancet, Tuesday 5th October (BMA Mention, Harrison Carter)

    Doctors split over NHS 'allegiance' plan
    The Times, Tuesday 4 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter) – subscription required

    Health education chiefs told to 'reduce NHS demand for migrants'
    GP Online, Thursday 13 October 2016, (Dr Krishna Kasaraneni)

    Student doctor number set to rise by 25%
    BBC Online, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt promises to end reliance on overseas
    Guardian, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Extra doctors will cut reliance on foreign staff
    Daily Mail, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt plans to fine junior doctors who move abroad
    Sun, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt to create "self-sufficient" NHS
    Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Health Secretary plans to boost number of "home grown" doctors
    Financial Times, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Up to 1,500 doctors to be trained each year
    ITV Online, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt unveils plans for more medical students to tackle GP shortage
    Daily Mirror, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt plans to fine doctors who move abroad
    Independent, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt outlines ten year plan to reduce reliance on foreign doctors
    International Business Times, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Hunt announces plans for medical trainees
    37 x Regional, Tuesday 04 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Backlash after Theresa May hints overseas doctors could be sent home once there are enough British-trained medics
    The Sun, Tuesday 4 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Tories re-branded the 'nasty party' after foreign workers verbally assaulted by cabinet
    The Daily Mirror, Tuesday 4 October 2016, (Dr Mark Porter)

    Theresa May under attack for hinting doctors from overseas only welcome for nine more years
    Huffington Post, Tuesday 4 October 2016, (BMA mention)

    May lambasted for confusion over whether foreign doctors can stay in the country
    The Independent, Tuesday 4 October 2016, (BMA mention)

  • Quotes

    Dr Mark Porter's response featured on the BBC website and in the Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, The Times, Independent, Financial Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and the Sun alongside a large number of regional publications.

    "Jeremy Hunt has been health secretary for four years, and while it is welcome that he has finally admitted the government has failed to train enough doctors to meet rising demand, this announcement falls far short of what is needed.

    "The government's poor workforce planning has meant that the health service is currently facing huge and predictable staff shortages. We desperately need more doctors, particularly with the government plans for further seven-day services, but it will take a decade for extra places at medical school to produce more doctors. This initiative will not stop the NHS from needing to recruit overseas staff.

    "International doctors bring great skill and expertise to the NHS. Without them, our health service would not be able to cope.

    "Over the past year, junior doctors across the country have raised concerns about the reality of working in an overstretched NHS and the impact that has on their morale and patient care. We know there are chronic staff shortages and rota gaps across the NHS, with major recruitment problems in areas such as emergency medicine and general practice. The government must tackle the root causes of this workforce crisis and the reasons why so many UK-trained doctors say they will choose to leave the NHS rather than forcing doctors to stay in a profession in which they can see no future. Demotivated, burnt-out doctors in this situation will not be good for patients."

    Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair of council


    Dr Krishna Kasaraneni's response was covered in trade press.

    "GP recruitment has not hit the target consistently for nearly a decade. There are currently hundreds of vacancies making a mockery of government's aim to recruit an additional 5,000 GPs by 2020.

    "GP workload is increasing at dramatic rates and funding has dropped disproportionately over the last few years. Yet, rather than addressing the root causes of this recruitment crisis, the government wants to lock medical students in to stay working in the NHS, a proposal which can only have a negative impact on morale.

    "The government needs to invest in general practice, decrease the bureaucratic workload and make general practice an attractive career for the next generation of doctors. Forcing doctors to stay in the health service when they want to gain experience elsewhere, for example, will not address this recruitment and retention crisis, nor is it be in the best interests of patient care.

    Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GPC policy lead for Education, Training and Workforce