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Doctors could face more than five years mandatory NHS service under DH plans

Doctors could face more than five years mandatory NHS service under DH plans

Doctors have been invited to express their views on introducing an army-style minimum term that would tie new medical students to the NHS for up to five years - or potentially even longer - as the government expands undergraduate placements.

The proposals form part of the government's drive to up the number of 'home-grown' doctors by 25% - heralded as 'the largest single increase in doctor training places in the history of the NHS' by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The changes, to be implemented in September 2018, will see 1,500 additional places open up in England's medical schools for domestic students, bringing the total available up to over 8,500.

A consultation on the proposals will run until 2 June 2017. It asks whether respondents agree in principle that implementing a minimum number of years of service is 'a fair mechanism' for the taxpayer to get a return on the investment made to train the students.

Respondents will also be asked whether they think this minimum term should last for two, three, four, five or more than five years. It also asks whether they agree that graduates should be required to repay some of the funding if they fail to work in the NHS for the prescribed period.

Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive of HEE, said: 'This major investment in undergraduate places is very welcome. The 25% increase in places is a clear commitment to a sustainable future home-grown medical workforce, making us self-sufficient in doctors for years to come, giving more young people from diverse backgrounds the chance to become a doctor.'

Responding to government suggestions that doctors could be forced to serve a minimum term in the NHS when Mr Hunt raised the issue in his 2016 Conservative party conference speech, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter urged the government to tackle the 'root causes' of the NHS workforce crisis, rather than forcing doctors to stay.

The public consultation, expanding undergraduate medical education, is open from Tuesday 14 March until 2 June 2017.

Source: GP Online

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