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School-leavers could join NHS via apprenticeships in plan to fix staff shortages

School-leavers could receive on-the-job training as part of an attempt to help address NHS workforce shortages, under plans to allow tens of thousands of doctors and nurses to join the health service via apprenticeships.

Up to 1 in 10 doctors and a third of nurses could be trained through this vocational path in the coming years under the NHS workforce plan. The NHS’s doctor apprenticeship scheme is due to start in September, where medics in training will be able to earn money while they study.

The concept was first introduced as an alternative route into medicine circumventing the standard undergraduate or graduate university programmes.

Dr Latifa Patel, workforce lead for the British Medical Association, said innovative approaches to education and training are welcome but there were huge question marks over how far medical apprenticeships can solve the recruitment crisis.

Patel said: “We don’t know if medical schools and employing organisations are going to be able to produce medical degree programmes to meet individual apprenticeship needs while also meeting the same high standards of training experienced by traditional medical students.

“We have little evidence on whether the apprentice model will work at scale, and whether employers will want to take the investment risk with no guarantee of a return."

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Source: The Guardian, 10 May 2023


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