Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS workforce plan is broadly welcomed by medical colleges, but questions remain over implementation

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 04 July 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p1535
  1. Emma Wilkinson
  1. Sheffield

The publication of the first ever NHS long term workforce plan is a significant moment, not least because it contains official projections of the shortfall in staff, which it currently sets at 112 000—increasing to 360 000 by 2037 if nothing is done.1

Under the proposals, backed by £2.4bn for the first five years, thousands more doctors, nurses, physician associates, and other healthcare staff will be trained. Apprenticeships will be piloted to make up more than one in five of all training places by 2031-32. The NHS will also consult on shortening medical degrees to four years.

There is a lot to unpack in the plan’s 151 pages. Medical colleges, which have been rapidly trying to assess what it means for education, training, and recruitment and retention, expressed a certain relief that it was finally here.

“It is an important step forward,” said Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). The announcement of 15 000 …

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