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How often do we see the current shortage of NHS staff, including doctors, brandished across newspaper headlines and television screens? Where are all the doctors? Are we accounting for why there is a shortage of doctors? Are we considering what we could do to improve those numbers? Are we truly supporting those that choose to remain in the profession? Do we understand the impact of the career pathway on them as individuals, both the physical and psychological?
Medical workforce expansion has been a vision of the conservative government over recent years. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care between 2018 and 2021, stated that the NHS had 5600 more doctors in 2021 compared with the same point in 2020.1 The UK government’s aim to train more doctors, and its heavy subsidisation of medical school places, has led to an increase in the number of admissions each year since 2017.2 Four new UK medical schools (Lincoln, Sunderland, Edge Hill, and Kent and Medway) were founded between 2019 and 2020 to create spaces to train the increasing number of students.3 The rise in the number of places led to a total of 10 400 UK medical students in the 2020–2021 academic year, an increase of almost 1000 from the previous year,2 4 an important stage in accruing more doctors.
The increase in medical students is a start in expanding the workforce, but from this stage onward, it has become more difficult to progress toward becoming a medical consultant. In 2021, there were 1560 internal medicine …
Contributors AB was the guarantor and conceived and developed the idea, performed the literature review and wrote the manuscript. BG contributed to writing and editing the manuscript. Both authors accept the final version.
Funding This article is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC). The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.