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Plea to blur line between doctors and nurses amid NHS staff crisis

The NHS staffing crisis will be solved only if doctors and nurses get more flexible about their job descriptions and break down barriers between roles, according to Rishi Sunak’s health adviser.

Bill Morgan argues that training times for doctors and nurses may have to be reduced, and suggests developing “sub-consultants” and entirely new medical professions, He wants ministers to create an Office for Budget Responsibility-style body to predict future workforce needs.

The Treasury has held down the numbers of doctors and nurses Britain trains to prevent “supply-induced demand”, which encourages people to seek appointments that are not needed, Morgan argues.

Chronic shortages of qualified staff are the biggest problem facing the health service, which has more than 130,000 vacancies. Morgan acknowledges that this means “some of the government’s key manifesto commitments will not be met”, citing the promise of 6,000 extra GPs.

Sunak said this week that the government was “thinking creatively about what new roles and capabilities we need in the healthcare workforce of the future”. He urged the NHS to shed “conventional wisdom”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 24 November 2022


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