Supporting the NHS

We are told that 6% of NHS health staff are EU nationals and the NHS has 100,000 staff positions unfilled. Yet according to the Medical Schools Council the government determines the number of medical school places available each year. For England that is 7,500. Each medical school is allowed to recruit a maximum of 7.5% of its numbers from overseas.There were 20,730 applications to medical school in 2018 for those 7,500 places and 50,000 applications for 30,000 places in nursing.

Both of these figures seem to me surprising, to say the least.

There are fewer nurses entering the profession as a result of reduced training places within universities – never mind Osborne’s crazy abolition of the nursing bursery.

Mark Britnell, global (yes, that title puts me off, too) chairman and senior partner for healthcare at KPMG, has pointed out in his book ‘Human: Solving the global workforce crisis in healthcare‘ that the global population is getting older and that Britain, by taking advantage of its universal NHS is uniquely placed to offer education and training for healthcare professionals.

Although he works for KPMG I still think he’s correct!

He says “I’ve worked in 77 countries and seen first hand how the healthcare system can – if managed properly – stimulate national wealth creation through improved productivity when allied with new pathways of care…The education and training of healthcare workers is a multimillion pound industry…. and our NHS is univerally respected.

In fact this is effectively what our own Charles Adams has long suggested.

Additionally every country in the UN has signed up to delivering Universal Healthcare ‘including financial risk protection’ as part of UN sustainable development goals. This part of the United Nations Development Programme could actually offer an opportunity for Britain, Brexit or not, to train many more doctors and nurses.That would capitalise on education, which is already a good ‘export’ for Britain.

Mark Britnell’s book which is due out on March 18 will suggest that Britain should take on board the education of doctors and nurses from around the world.

That at least might mean we could compensate a little for the loss of the EU Medicines Agency.

Indeed it might transform Britain’s idea of itself.

And it might even help to support that original idea of our NHS.