The National Health Service (NHS) in England has announced plans to hire and train doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare staff to offer improved care to patients.
Dubbed Long Term Workforce Plan, the initiative has also received support from the Government of UK.
The plan outlines NHS’s strategies to fill up current vacancies as well as serve the needs of a growing and ageing population through recruitment and retention of hundreds of thousands additional staff over 15 years.
It also aims to facilitate the use of new technology, including artificial intelligence (AI).
Furthermore, the plan seeks to double medical school training places to 15,000 by 2031 as well as expand the number of general practice (GP) training places by 50% to 6,000 by 2031.
The plan also expects to nearly double the number of adult nurse training places by 2031 along with 24,000 additional nurse and midwife training places per year by 2031.
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The Government of UK has supported the plan with more than £2.4bn in additional funding for new education and training places in five years.
NHS, which currently has 112,000 vacancies, could use the retention measures to include at least 60,000 new doctors, 170,000 more nurses and 71,000 additional allied health professionals by 2036/37.
Use of advanced technology and treatments could also result in change in the workforce size and roles over time.
This will allow NHS will update the Long Term Workforce Plan within a gap of around two years to help meet future needs.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “This is a truly historic day for the NHS in England – for 75 years, the extraordinary dedication, skill and compassion of NHS staff has been the backbone of the health service – and 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.”