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Response to planned medical school places increase

Universities UK responded today to plans outlined by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to increase the number of medical school places in England. Under the plans, the number of medical school places will increase by 25% from 2018.

Professor Steve West, Chair of Universities UK's Health Education and Research Policy Network, said: 'Universities want to be part of the solution to health workforce shortages. But such a rapid expansion of medical student numbers needs additional funding for teaching, and attention to the issue of high placement costs.

'In the immediate term, reallocating funds from international students [currently capped at 7.5% of the domestic intake] will not address the funding gap and may, unless high placement costs are addressed, put British medical education at a competitive disadvantage, impacting its global reputation, sustainability and quality.'

In England, medical Service Increment for Teaching (SIFT) - payable to NHS organisations for placements - is currently set at approximately £35,000 per year. The Scottish equivalent, the Additional Cost of Teaching (ACT), is £17,000 per year; this is discounted to £10,000 per year for international students.

Professor West added: 'It takes 10 years to train a GP, 14 years to train a surgeon. Growing our own doctors and other healthcare professionals needs sustained investment over several political cycles, certainly beyond the negotiation of Brexit.

'More importantly, we require a system-wide approach that aligns education to changing services, that accounts for rapid advances in diagnostics and technology and that challenges current models. Training more of the same to stop gaps is no longer enough.'

Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

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