Nicholas Soames – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Nicholas Soames on 2016-03-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, for what reasons St George’s Medical School is capped at 259 student doctors each year.

Ben Gummer

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for advising the Government on the total number of medical school places and for commissioning postgraduate medical education. This aims to ensure that we have a National Health Service workforce in the right numbers, with the right skills, values and behaviour to respond to the current and future needs of patients. It takes around 5 years of medical school (undergraduate) and a year of training to become a registered doctor and a further 4 to 11 years of training to specialise in General Practice or hospital specialities.

There are currently over 50,000 doctors in training in England according to Health Education England’s Workforce Plan (2015/16) for England.

The latest monthly workforce statistics for November 2015 published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that there are 106,124 full-time equivalent doctors currently employed in the NHS in England which is an increase of 10,703 (11.2%) since May 2010.

The Department and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) share responsibility for determining the medical and dental school undergraduate intakes in England. The Department (via HEE) is responsible for determining overall numbers, and HEFCE has responsibility for the individual distribution to medical and dental schools. Historically places have broadly ben allocated for each institution the same as the previous year, so as to keep stability in recruitment, to help institutions to plan for their intake and in order to meet the national target.