HC Deb 19 July 1995 vol 263 c1288W
Mrs. Beckett

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives have been introduced to combat shortages of doctors with the NHS in the past 12 months. [35517]

Mr. Malone

We have supported a range of intiatives in the last 12 months to ensure an appropriate supply of doctors.

The NHS Executive is encouraging part-time training to allow doctors to train flexibly to accommodate changes in their personal circumstances. To aid the expansion of flexible training, the quotas for training posts have been removed. The new deal on junior doctors' hours has continued to provide an impetus to increase the number of medical posts in the NHS.

The specialist workforce advisory group, which includes representatives of the medical profession and the NHS, has conducted intense reviews of specialties and its recommendations will be presented to the advisory group on medical education, training and staffing.

The medical workforce standing advisory committee recommended an increase of 500, or 11 per cent., in the target medical school intake. We have accepted this recommendation, and will be discussing its implementation with interested parties.

Mrs. Beckett

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on shortages of staff within the NHS; and if he will make a statement on the impact of shortages on the provision of services within the health service. [35518]

Mr. Malone

It is for national health service employers to decide the numbers of staff and skills levels they require. There are no general indications of significant recruitment or retention problems. In certain specialist area, however there are known to be some local difficulties.

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