Rheumatology

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 21 November 2023.

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Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the numbers of (a) nurses and (b) allied professionals specialising in rheumatology as a post registration option.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department plans to increase the number of (a) rheumatologists and (b) rheumatology specialist nurses in England over the next (i) 12 months, (ii) five years and (iii) 15 years.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan (LTWP) sets out plans for the biggest increase in training numbers in the National Health Service’s history to meet the challenge of a growing and ageing population over the next 15 years. There are currently 1,153 full time equivalent doctors working in the specialty of rheumatology. This is 142 (14%) more than in 2019.

The LTWP aims to double the number of medical school places in England, to 10,000 a year, by 2028/29, and to 15,000 places a year by 2031/32. The LTWP commits to an adequate growth in foundation placement capacity, as those taking up these new places begin to graduate, and a commensurate increase in specialty training places that meets the demands of the NHS in the future. This will substantially increase the potential pipeline for rheumatologists and other medical specialties.

The LTWP also sets out an ambition to almost double the number of adult nursing training places, taking the number of total places up to nearly 28,000 in 2028/29, and nearly 38,000 by 2031/32. The LTWP also includes the ambition to increase allied health professionals (AHPs) training places by 8% by 2024/25, and by 13% to 17,000 by 2028/29. Specialising in rheumatology is a post-registration option for nurses and allied health professionals and the LTWP expansion will increase the pool of nurses and AHP’s who wish to specialise in rheumatology.

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