medical schools council


Medical schools welcome report calling for action on NHS workforce crisis


The Medical Schools Council (MSC) welcomes a new report from the Health and Social Care Committee, Workforce: recruitment, training, and retention in Health and Social Care. The report makes clear the scale of the workforce crisis the NHS is facing and calls for the Government to take urgent action to address the needs of the health service.

The committee’s report makes reference to MSC’s position paper which calls for the expansion of UK medical student places by 5000.

Professor Malcolm Reed, Chair of the Medical Schools Council, provided oral evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee earlier this year. On the report, Professor Reed commented:

“We are pleased that the Health and Social Care Committee’s report focuses on the workforce issues affecting the NHS and specifically the urgent need to increase the numbers of medical school places in the UK. Medicine is a highly oversubscribed subject and there is no doubt that there are a large number of talented individuals who showcase the values and attributes that we look for in good doctors. Universities fully support these aspirations and will strive to increase places in areas that are under-doctored and explore novel and flexible approaches that make a career in medicine a realistic prospect for a broader range of applicants.

“The MSC proposal of 5000 additional places is achievable and does not exclude the potential for international students to train and work in the NHS – this is a key strength of the NHS and producing more doctors in the UK will ensure ethical international recruitment in future. However, MSC does not agree with the suggestion that international students graduating in the UK should fund their own Foundation Programme, which represents a misunderstanding of the transition from student to employment as a doctor. It is important that we do not create barriers for graduates who have been trained to work in the UK’s health system and have chosen to continue to contribute by working in the NHS.

“As the report highlights, there is a need to support healthcare professionals throughout their training in order to maintain a sustainable workforce. In undergraduate medicine this means a significant increase in medical student numbers, boosting clinical placement capacity and increasing the number of foundation and specialty training posts for graduates. We hope to collaborate with stakeholders to address this, but it should be stressed that this work must be supported by a clear and fully funded workforce strategy.”


  1. The Medical Schools Council proposal expands upon the work of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Physicians, both of which have called for the number of medical school places to be doubled. MSC’s proposal is also supported by the Academy of Royal Colleges.
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