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DHSC response to reporting on medical school places

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In response to recent misleading reporting on the subject of the government’s drive to increase the number of medical school places, here’s how we are meeting our pledge to double the number of medical school places in England to 15,000 by 2031, as set out in the NHS Long-Term Workforce plan.

For practical reasons, we are increasing capacity incrementally up to 2031, rather than dividing the additional 7,500 evenly over the years – and the workforce plan sets out the planned trajectories for training intakes.

There are now more doctors in training than at any time in the history of the NHS. We have already expanded the number of medical school places in England to 7,500 per year, a 25 per cent increase completed in 2020 which delivered five new medical schools. We have now accelerated this expansion by allocating 205 additional medical school places for 2024/25, a year ahead of our target.

Have you rolled back on your commitment to deliver 15,000 medical school places by 2031?

  • No. We remain committed to meeting this target and are in fact ahead of the schedule published in the Long-Term Workforce Plan.

Did you ever commit to allocating 1,500 per year?

  • No, that has never been the way the expansion was planned. The planned expansion is not uniform in each year and increases substantially in later years. The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan sets out a trajectory to deliver this.
  • This will allow time for new medical schools in different parts of the country to be part of the expansion, for existing medical schools to build the physical and teaching capacity needed, and to develop curricula and receive General Medical Council approvals where needed.

Why have only 205 and 350 been allocated?

  • NHSE, working with Government partners, has accelerated the expansion by delivering 205 places a year early in 2024 and will deliver 350 further additional places in 2025.
  • A combination of these additional medical places this year and next, along with medical apprenticeship places, puts us on track to exceed current plans.

How many places are you set to allocate year by year?

  • Working with government partners, NHSE has allocated 205 places for 2024 and are in the final stage of allocating 350 places for 2025. We will set out plans for future years in due course.

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