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RCP responds to Labour's pledge to expand medical school places

The RCP has responded to the Labour party’s announcement that they will make the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history.

In her conference speech today, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves announced the Labour party will double the number of medical school places.

In response to the announcement, Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has called for medical school places to be expanded for many years, so we strongly welcome the Labour party announcement today that it would double the number of places to 15,000.

“A lack of long-term workforce planning is at the root of many of the huge pressures that staff are currently under in the NHS. Workforce challenges are the biggest barrier to reducing waiting lists and providing care in the long-term so it is welcome to see commitments to expand numbers of healthcare professionals across the multi-disciplinary team. Increasing the number of people in the system is a vital part of being able to meet patient demand in future, as well as reducing clinical workloads which in turn reduces pressure.

“The RCP firmly believes the NHS must be open and welcoming to international colleagues, but we should be aiming to train more doctors in the UK. Expanding the number of medical school places in the UK is crucial to creating a sustainable and efficient health service.

“The other crucial step to reducing pressure on the NHS must be tackling the root causes of ill health so that we can prevent avoidable illness that contributes to rises in NHS demand in the first place. An explicit cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities is urgently needed to improve and protect the nation’s health before they reach the point of needing hospital care.”