The Government has announced the “biggest ever” expansion plans for the National Health Service (NHS). This is the story that tops our weekly round-up of news from the NHS. Elsewhere, the number of patients waiting to admitted to hospital has it four million for the first time in a decade.
Also, the NHS have agreed to pay £150,000 for a seven-month-old baby to travel to the US for heart surgery, as doctors in the UK “lack the expertise” to perform the operation needed.
NHS Expansion Plans
New NHS expansion plans have been revealed by the Government this week, which will see over 1000 extra doctors being trained by 2020. According to the Department of Health, this will boost current student doctor numbers of 6000 by 25%.
Alongside the number of doctors being trained, there will also be an additional 10,000 training places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. The extra places will be targeted at under-represented social groups such as lower income students.
These new NHS expansion plans have been met with mixed responses from the British Medical Association (BMA), who are worried about the immediate problem. BMA medical students committee co-chairman Harrison Carter said:
“The students who will benefit from these new placements will take at least 10 years to train and become senior doctors so we mustn’t forget this promise won’t tackle the immediate shortage of doctors in the NHS which could become more acute following Brexit. As such, we require equal focus on retaining existing doctors in high-quality jobs which will provide more immediate relief to an overstretched medical workforce.”
In 2017, 45,000 students applied for 23,000 nurse training places. It is hoped that the new NHS expansion plans can help ensure that more students gain places.
Patients waiting for hospital care hits four million
The latest NHS performance statistics have revealed that the number of patients waiting to be admitted to hospital for surgery has reached four million for the first time in a decade. According to the report on The Guardian, just over four million patients were waiting to undergo non-urgent operations such as a cataract removals and hip replacements at the end of June.
Not only was this the highest figure since August 2007, but it was also the second highest figure on record. NHS bosses say that these new figures show that hospitals no longer have the right resources to deliver to the public, due to shortages of money, staff and care outside of hospitals.
In the report, The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said:
“It is staggering that this government have allowed the NHS waiting list to rise over 4 million. A year of Theresa May’s mismanagement of the NHS has pushed services to the brink and left thousands more waiting in pain for routine operations.”
The Department of Health have declined to comment on the matter.
NHS to pay for baby’s US heart surgery
The NHS have agreed to pay for a severely ill baby to fly to the US for heart surgery after conceding that doctors in the UK “lack the expertise” to perform to the procedure. The service will pay the £150,000 needed for seven-month-old Oliver Cameron to have surgery.
Oliver has an “exceptionally rare” heart condition known as cardiac fibroma. There are currently no units in England capable of treating the condition. The surgery is due to take place in Boston, after he turns one in January 2018. This is to give Oliver the best chance of recovery after the treatment. This date will be brought forward if his condition worsens.
A health service spokesman told The Telegraph:
“The application identified there is not currently a surgical service in the UK with experience of treating this exceptionally rare condition and we have therefore agreed to fund Oliver’s treatment abroad. We have also determined that a clinical policy is required for service access and will explore whether a service in the UK is appropriate considering the small number of patients.”
Before this announcement was made, Oliver’s parents had been trying to raise enough money for the trip – reaching around £130,000. The NHS is considering sending a British surgeon with the Cameron family to learn how the tumour can be removed from their American counterparts.