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20.03.18

New university places 'won't tackle immediate shortage', says BMA

New medical schools will not tackle the immediate shortage of NHS doctors, the BMA has warned.

The comments come in response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s announcement that five new medical schools will be launched.

Places in existing medical schools will also increase by 25% in an attempt to meet the government’s aim of having 1,500 more medical students by 2020.

The new schools will open in Sunderland, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Lincoln and Lancashire.

Harrison Carter, BMA medical students committee co-chair, welcomed the initiative, but added: “The students who will benefit from these new placements will take at least 10 years to train and become senior doctors so this measure won’t tackle the immediate shortage of doctors in the NHS which could become more acute following Brexit.”

He argued that there must be an equal focus on retaining existing doctors, which will provide more immediate relief to the overstretched medical workforce.

The chair also called for more funding and foundation programme training posts, to ensure that unemployment is not an “every day fear” for medical students.

“Student debt exceeds £80,000 for many medical graduates and both students and taxpayers should expect to see a high quality training post available upon qualification,” he added.

Top image: Steve Debenport

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