Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at a press conference the new NHS workforce plan, backed by £2.4bn of government investment, was based on three principles: train, retain and reform.
The new plan announced today will double medical school places to 15,000 by 2031, and also train 24,000 more nurses and midwives a year, he explained.
The plan also aims to retain 130,000 more staff in the NHS over the next 15 years, as well as improving conditions, PM added.
PM said the plan is the “most ambitious transformation in the way we staff the NHS in its history”.
PM also announced reforms such as expanding nurse and physician associates, as well as apprenticeships.
The aim in apprenticeship scheme is to bring in non-graduates, allowing them to earn as soon as they start learning and working.
The new plan’s apprenticeship reform was discussed at the beginning of May as it was said that the apprenticeship scheme would mean school leavers will be able to enrol to become doctors without having to pay to go to university.
Dr Latifa Patel, workforce lead for the British Medical Association, previously said about the apprenticeship plan: “Innovative approaches to education and training are welcome – but there are huge question marks over how far medical apprenticeships can solve this crisis.”
Chancellor, and former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt said to BBC that today’s plan shows NHS staff that the government is committed to reducing the intensity during shifts by recruiting more.
Matthew Taylor, managing director of the NHS Confederation, said the NHS workforce plan has been long awaited, and his organisation has been calling for a plan like this for decades.
“It is an important day and the plan has the level of ambition that we would like to see,” he added.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said “this is the biggest workforce expansion” in the NHS’s history, but said recruitment is only part of the answer, and that retention is just as important.