Worcester MP Robin Walker has marked the 75th anniversary of the founding of the NHS by calling on the government to provide funding to train British medics in his constituency. The General Medical Council certified the Three Counties Medical School at the University of Worcester in 2020 but places for domestic students are limited due to a lack of funding from government. Robin has been joined by colleagues in calling for funding to
This week the government published its NHS Long Term Workforce Plan to address staffing challenges and prepare the service for the future. The plan included a commitment to double medical school places by 2031/32, increasing by a third to 10,000 a year by 2028/29. It also committed to train more staff domestically to reduce the reliance on international and agency staff. The long term plan recognises the immediate need for more doctors - something that has been confirmed by health trusts across the three counties - the small print of the document suggests that the first new medical school places commissioned by the plan will start to be provided from September 2025.
Robin is supported by all six of his fellow Worcestershire MPs who have written to the Health Secretary to urge him to provide funded places at the Three Counties Medical School at the earliest opportunity. The TCMS have made clear that with funding they would be able to provide up to 150 places in September 2024, of which 139 would be home students.
The first cohort of students will begin training at the TCMS this September with 20 domestic students starting alongside 28 international students thanks to a grant from the Kildare Trust charity and local NHS trusts. The Worcestershire MPs have also pressed the Health Secretary in their letter for funding which would allow a further 16 local students to begin training this September.
“Committing to training local doctors who will train in the NHS and work in the NHS in the future would be the perfect way to mark 75 years of the service.
“The NHS long term workforce plan was a welcome commitment to the future of the health service but it missed a key opportunity to go further, sooner on training British doctors. Health bosses are reportedly spending £70 million on agency staff to plug the shortage of doctors, money which would be far better utilised training doctors locally as a long term solution to the shortfall.
“Crucially the University of Worcester have confirmed that they have the capacity to recruit 150 medical students in September 2024. Placements for all of these have been identified in local trusts across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Dudley, meaning students will be learning from, and contributing to, our local healthcare system. Even a fairer allocation of existing funding could enable the TCMS to begin training the next generation of local doctors sooner.
”I have campaigned hard for a medical school at the University of Worcester and am glad that they will be accepting their first tranche of students this year, but it is important that we keep pressing the government on home students so we don’t miss the opportunity to train doctors locally as soon as possible.”