April 23, 2024 3:04 pm
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UK Government Launches Massive Recruitment Drive to Boost Health Services

The National Health Service (NHS) in England is set to receive a boost of over 300,000 staff, according to a new plan unveiled by the government on Friday. The move aims to address the chronic shortage of doctors and nurses in the publicly-funded NHS, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Wednesday. The NHS is projected to face a workforce shortfall of 360,000 by 2037 due to a combination of factors including an ageing population, a lack of domestically trained health workers, and difficulties in retaining existing staff.

The government’s long-term workforce plan includes measures such as reducing the time doctors spend in medical school and training more homegrown staff. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the plan as “the largest single expansion in NHS education and training in its history.” The government aims to train twice the number of doctors and an additional 24,000 nurses per year, with the goal of reducing waiting lists and improving patient care. The plan also seeks to address the retention of NHS staff and reform the healthcare system to ensure its sustainability.

“The publication of our first-ever NHS long-term workforce plan now gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put staffing on sustainable footing for the years to come,” said Amanda Pritchard, CEO of NHS England. “As we look to adapt to new and rising demand for health services globally, this long-term blueprint is the first step in a major and much-needed expansion of our workforce to ensure we have the staff we need to deliver for patients.”

The NHS currently has 112,000 vacancies and struggles to fill the large number of workers leaving the service. Over the past year, the NHS has faced unprecedented strikes as staff members have complained about being underpaid and overworked, especially during the challenging times of clearing the backlog caused by the coronavirus lockdowns.

If successful, the government’s plan could result in an additional 60,000 doctors, 170,000 more nurses, and 71,000 more health professionals in the NHS by 2037. It should be noted that health is a devolved matter, with the governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland having jurisdiction over healthcare policy in their respective regions. The UK government oversees health in England.

AFP

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