The increase, up by a fifth on the 4,970 medical students planned for 2,000, will require the building of one or more medical schools or a big expansion of existing schools, the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee says.
Alan Milburn, health minister, signalled the Government's anxiety by questioning the committee's conclusion. "A number of the [committee's] recommendations chime with the Government's own thinking and should be welcomed. But the recommendation on increased medical school intake has very significant implications."
Mr Milburn said in a newspaper article this week that the NHS was affordable from taxation and that doom mongers were exaggerating pressures on it. But a groundswell of opinion is growing that extra sources of funds, possibly by charging patients, will have to be found.
The committee estimates the demand for doctors will rise at 1.7 per cent per year over the next 20 years, similar. "An increase of 1,000 in the annual medical-student intake would not produce a domestic oversupply by the year 2020 under any realistic scenario. Training too few doctors, however, might well have implications for both healthcare and resources," it says.Reuse content