Length of doctors' training should be slashed from seven years to fix staffing ... trends now
The time it takes to qualify as a doctor should be slashed to plug staffing gaps, the chairman of NHS England has said.
Richard Meddings suggested new medics were over-qualified after seven years of training because 'most' did not get to use their full skills on the job.
The former banker, who took up his role a year ago, said the NHS has fewer doctors and nurses than other developed countries.
He acknowledged that the lack of staff combined with an 'exponential' rise in demand from an ageing population had created a 'capacity issue'.
Mr Meddings said vacancies could be filled by accelerating training for doctors or employing more support staff, such as 'physician associates', who do not have medical degrees. Mr Meddings made his remarks during a panel discussion on the future of the NHS at the Social Market Foundation think-tank.
NHS England chairman Richard Meddings suggested new medics were over-qualified after seven years of training because 'most' did not get to use their full skills on the job
Asked if it should be possible to train a doctor in less than seven years, he said: 'I would have thought so. Or you go to physician associates – so you change the skill levels.'