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Press Releases

Take a look at a selection of our recent media coverage:

New £30m health technology fund announced by UK Government alongside medical school places

3rd October 2023

The UK health secretary Steve Barclay has announced a £30m fund to speed up adoption of new health technology in the NHS.

Addressing the Conservative Party Conference today, he also announced ‘three new medical schools’.

However, the Labour Party and the BMA both pointed out all three schools already exist and two of them already train medical students.

The new tech fund will be open to applications from ICSs for projects that meet an ‘unmet need’ and bring ‘tangible benefits’ for patients or ‘improve productivity or staff experience’, the Government said.

The funding will be made available this calendar year, with projects expected to complete before the end of the financial year.

In his speech, the health secretary suggested projects could focus on artificial intelligence or cancer diagnosis.

He said: ‘Cutting-edge technology like AI has the potential to transform our healthcare but we need to roll out these innovations faster so that patients receive the benefits as quickly as possible.

‘That is why today I am announcing the creation of a new £30m Health Technology Adoption and Acceleration Fund, enabling clinicians to adopt proven technologies that can improve patient care in their local area.

‘This fund, resulting from a long-term decision by the Government to build a brighter future for the NHS, will provide new tools to help detect cancer sooner, enable people to receive treatment in the own homes and increase productivity.’

On medical schools, the health secretary announced that the new schools will be at the University of Worcester, the University of Chester and Brunel University in Uxbridge, west London.

According to the Government, this will provide a further 205 undergraduate places from September 2024.

Mr Barclay said: ‘I’m delighted to announce today that we are making more than 200 medical school extra places available at universities for next September.

‘Most of these places will be going to three new NHS medical schools, meaning hundreds of additional doctors working on the wards in the years to come.

‘This will help ensure the NHS is set for the future and that patients get the care they need when they need it.’

But Dr Emma Runswick, BMA council deputy chair, said: ‘With more than 10,800 doctor vacancies in England’s hospitals alone, these additional 205 places a year are a drop in the ocean. The health secretary is fooling no one if he thinks this is the answer to the NHS’s medical workforce crisis – while he simultaneously refuses to talk with the doctors we already have.

‘We desperately need to attract and recruit more doctors, but most crucially we need to keep the doctors working in the NHS right now, and to do that we need to ensure they’re valued appropriately. You can’t fill a leaky bucket without plugging holes in the bottom.’

This article was originally published by our sister publication Pulse.

EU doctors joining NHS workforce to have automatic recognition for at least five more years

13th July 2023

Doctors and other healthcare professionals from the EU can continue to join the NHS workforce for the next five years without taking additional tests, following a recent UK Government review. 

The law enabling this, named ‘standstill provisions’, came into effect on the day the UK left the European Union, and the health secretary was required to review it from January 2023 and decide a way forward. 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) concluded that the provisions will remain in place ‘for a temporary period of five years’, meaning EU qualified healthcare professionals can continue to register with their UK regulator without further assessment. 

An average of more than 4,000 EU doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and other healthcare professionals join the NHS annually, according to the DHSC.

The department’s data analysis also showed that while the number of applications from EU professionals was generally lower over the last two years than in 2019, the number has been increasing since 2021, and the doctor and nursing regulators received the most across each year.

A consultation, which included the GMC, found that a majority of stakeholders wanted the standstill provisions to remain ‘in the short-term’ in order to ‘avoid operational issues’ if they ended this year. 

The DHSC said retaining the provisions ‘will support the department’s ambition to attract and recruit overseas healthcare professionals, without introducing complex and burdensome registration routes’.

EU doctors and other healthcare professionals may only need to take language skills tests and checks on fitness to practise, where necessary, in order to register with their relevant regulator and work in the NHS.

The Government long-term workforce plan recognises ‘the skills and dedication of staff who have come here from around the world’, it sets out plans to increase the number of home-grown staff with a doubling of medical school places to 15,000 by 2031 to reduce reliance on overseas recruitment.

A version of this story was originally published by our sister publication Pulse.