I have written previously about my concerns over staffing shortages in our NHS. It is an issue across a wide range of professions in the health service, and many expect that the issue will only worsen if it becomes harder to recruit staff from abroad after Brexit.
Data from NHS Digital demonstrates that 9.3% of doctor posts in the NHS in England were vacant in 2017-18, a shortage of 11,500 doctors. This was described by BBC News as a “’national emergency”.
When we look at this problem in the long term it’s clear that we would benefit from increasing the number of people studying medicine here in the UK, improving our skill base and giving more people opportunities to take on those NHS roles.
I know that many local residents would relish such an opportunity and I’ve spoken with Universities like Uclan who are willing and able to expand their numbers, but the Government needs to support this.
Last autumn I wrote to the Health Secretary to highlight my concerns and received confirmation that 171 extra places for medical students in the North West are due to be delivered by 2021.
I want the Government to go further and it’s clear that Universities are eager to offer more places for medical students.
Last week I questioned the Chancellor in Parliament over future funds to provide additional places. You can see the answers I received in full below.