Thousands more medical students will be trained as family doctors under plans to be announced today by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary.
He will also set out moves to boost the number of nurses who work in the community.
The steps are designed to ensure more elderly people can be looked after in their homes and in their local surgeries. The initiative could also ease the pressure on accident and emergency departments.
Mr Hunt wants to raise the proportion of newly qualified doctors who become GPs from 40 per cent to 50 per cent, equivalent to 400 a year or 2,000 over five years.
His instruction is contained in a “mandate” being issued to Health Education England, which is in charge of medics’ training.
Half of all student nurses will be expected to take community placements before qualification in an effort to increase the numbers who opt for careers outside hospitals.
The number of NHS staff with dementia training will reach 100,000 by March under the plans.