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350 Extra Medical School Places Allocated in NHS Training Boost

The UK government has announced the allocation of an additional 350 medical school places in England for the academic year 2025/26, marking a significant stride in fulfilling the objectives outlined in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Backed by more than £2.4 billion in government funding, the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan aims to recruit and retain hundreds of thousands more staff over the next 15 years, representing the most extensive training expansion in the health service’s history. One of its central commitments is to double the number of medical school places in England to 15,000 by 2031, while also addressing disparities in the geographic distribution of places.

The Office for Students (OfS) has now allocated 350 places to medical schools across the country for the academic year 2025/26, with a focus on bolstering training opportunities in under-doctored areas. This allocation follows last year’s distribution of 205 additional medical school places for the 2024/25 academic year, which commenced a year ahead of schedule.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins expressed the government’s commitment to ensuring a robust healthcare workforce for the future, emphasizing the importance of doubling medical school places to meet the nation’s healthcare needs. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan echoed these sentiments, highlighting the expanded opportunities for aspiring medical professionals.

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, described the allocation of additional medical school places as a crucial step towards bolstering patient care nationwide. Dr. Katie Petty-Saphon, CEO of the Medical Schools Council, welcomed the announcement, emphasizing the importance of widening participation in the medical profession and recruiting locally in under-doctored areas.

The allocation of places has been strategically targeted to address areas with insufficient medical coverage, with significant increases granted to universities in Sunderland, Leeds, East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin, Plymouth, and Surrey. Notably, the University of Surrey is receiving government-funded places for the first time.

This expansion builds on previous efforts to increase medical school capacity, including a 25% expansion completed in 2020, which established five new medical schools and raised the total number of places to 7,500 per year.

The government and NHS England plan to continue working closely with partners, including medical schools, NHS trusts, and the General Medical Council, to implement ambitious reforms in medical education outlined in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. Through ongoing collaboration and investment, they aim to exceed current targets and ensure a sustainable workforce for the future of healthcare in the UK.

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