I would like to assure you that the Government is committed to increasing the number of staff in the NHS, both in the short-term and for the future.
I support recent announcements from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to train and recruit 25 per cent more doctors and nurses every year. That is roughly 1,500 more doctors, and 5,000 more nurses being trained on the NHS, and the Government is working closely with universities to ensure that our higher education sector is prepared to train a new generation of recruits.
There are roughly 150,000 EU nationals working in the NHS today, and I would like to echo the Secretary of State in saying how much I value their hard work and care in the health service, and emphasise that the Government intends to guarantee their current rights in the UK after we leave the European Union.
I entirely understand your concern about the need for more staff immediately; it is well-known that it takes years to train healthcare professionals. I am happy to say that there are roughly 50,000 nurses in training, and the introduction of the new Nursing Degree Apprenticeship and nursing associate roles will significantly bolster the nursing workforce in the short term, as we continue to build an NHS workforce for the future.
I support the use of a targeted incentives by the NHS to improve recruitment throughout the country. We must acknowledge that for a long time, there have been many parts of the country which have attracted fewer doctors and nurses, and indeed many other professionals. I believe that NHS England’s Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme is a sensible move which will ensure that all parts of the country receive the talented doctors and nurses they deserve.