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NHS: Staff

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure safe and adequate levels of staffing across the NHS to protect patient safety.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage and support people to enter the nursing profession.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase the number of medical school places to meet growing demand.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Appropriate staffing levels are an important element of the Care Quality Commission’s registration regime. It is the responsibility of individual National Health Service health and care employers to have staffing arrangements in place that deliver safe and effective care. This includes recruiting the staff needed to support these levels and meet local needs.

As part of the NHS People Plan, NHS Improvement and Health Education England are considering how best to support the NHS in ensuring it has access to the staff it needs across England. This has focused on areas such as retaining nurses already employed; supporting their existing nursing workforce in areas such as flexible working; investing in nursing staff’s Continuous Professional Development; and increasing undergraduate supply through attracting more students to study nursing.

NHS England and NHS Improvement working with Health Education England are also delivering a major communication campaign ‘We are the NHS’. The campaign aims to reduce vacancy rates across the NHS, with a focus on the nursing profession. There has been a strong focus on recruitment to courses starting in September 2019. From September 2019, a further campaign has been launched to encourage the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) applications to the 15 January deadline for nursing courses starting in September 2020.

UCAS reported that applicants to study nursing have increased by 4% compared to the same period last year.

Our ongoing 25% expansion of medical school places in England will see 7,500 new doctors available annually by 2020/21. This expansion has delivered five brand new medical schools in Sunderland, Lancashire, Chelmsford, Lincoln and Canterbury. The upcoming NHS People Plan will examine options for growing the medical workforce further. This includes the possibility of further medical school expansion, as well as increasing part-time study and expanding the number of accelerated degree programmes.

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