The National Health Service in England will receive almost 300,000 new employees as part of a new plan revealed by the government on Friday to address a persistent lack of physicians and nurses.
The NHS, which celebrates its 75th birthday on Wednesday, is expected to face a manpower shortfall of 360,000 by 2037 as a result of an aging population, a dearth of domestically qualified health workers, and difficulty in maintaining existing personnel.
The government’s long-term labor strategy would involve shortening doctors’ time in medical school and training more in-house personnel.
“On the 75th anniversary of our health service, this government is making the largest single expansion in NHS education and training in its history,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated.
“In the coming years, we will train twice as many doctors and 24,000 more nurses per year, reducing waiting lists and improving patient care.”
“We will do more to retain our brilliant NHS staff and reform the way the health system works to ensure that it is fit for the future,” he continued.
NHS England now has 112,000 openings due to the significant number of employees departing the institution.
Over the last year, the NHS has seen record strikes, with employees complaining of being underpaid and overworked as they try to clear the backlog generated by coronavirus lockdowns.
According to the government, the plan could result in an additional 60,000 doctors, 170,000 nurses, and 71,000 health professionals in the NHS by 2037.
“The publication of our first-ever NHS long-term workforce plan now gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put staffing on a sustainable footing for years to come,” NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said.
“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.”
Health policy is devolved, with governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland making decisions. The UK government is in charge of health care in England.