Oral Answers to Questions — Doctor Training

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd March 1999.

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Photo of Mr Tony McWalter Mr Tony McWalter Labour/Co-operative, Hemel Hempstead 12:00 am, 2nd March 1999

What provision he is making to train increased numbers of doctors; and what progress is being made in inaugurating new medical schools. [72388]

Photo of John Denham John Denham Minister of State (Department of Health)

The Government announced on 22 July 1998 that intake to medical schools in the United Kingdom would be increased to about 6,000 places by 2005—an increase of about 20 per cent. In England, the increase is being co-ordinated by a joint implementation group, which has invited universities to submit proposals for the allocation of additional places by 12 March. Proposals will be considered by the group and decisions will be announced later in the year. Numbers in postgraduate training are also growing to meet future requirements for general practitioners and consultants.

Photo of Mr Tony McWalter Mr Tony McWalter Labour/Co-operative, Hemel Hempstead

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and I welcome the Government's commitments. Is my hon. Friend aware that many district general hospitals need new doctors and trainee staff to function properly? If the new doctors being trained are consolidated in existing centres of excellence, many district general hospitals will not have access to new doctor trainees because of the Calman report's recommendations. I hope that my hon. Friend will ensure that hospitals throughout the country, and particularly in Hemel Hempstead, have the opportunity of having trainee doctors associated with medical schools so that they can take full advantage of their expertise.

Photo of John Denham John Denham Minister of State (Department of Health)

Doctors in specialist training and, to a lesser extent, medical students benefit from the experience of a range of provision, including large teaching centres, smaller acute trusts and community care trusts. How that experience is provided is for local decision.