RCPCH responds to DHSC announcement on flexible training courses to improve recruitment

The Government is to consider more flexible training for healthcare professionals who wish to switch discipline. The Department of Health and Social Care said that people who are already working as healthcare professionals "could train to become doctors and nurses more quickly now that the UK has left the EU".

Commenting on the announcement RCPCH President, Professor Russell Viner, said:

The child health workforce is currently short of some 856 consultants alone, with a similar lack of paediatric doctors at other grades. There are also shortages in other parts of the child health workforce including health visitors and school nurses. This means that services for treating children are constantly placed under enormous pressure.

While welcome as a recognition that NHS staff need flexibility to retrain and use their skills and experience in new roles, it is hard to see how the government’s proposals will be enough to do more than scratch the surface of a problem that is having a severe effect not only on staff morale and retention, but also on the ability to deliver safe and high quality care for children and young people.

This is a zero-sum game and taking other professionals to plug holes in doctor availability risks creating holes elsewhere.

This page was amended on 11 February. The child health workforce is short of 856 consultants, not 900 as stated in an earlier version.