The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the UK‚’s healthcare requirements at a time when the number of healthcare staff has reduced, in part due to changes in visa and residence entitlements. Our shortage of staff, from healthcare assistants and porters to intensive care nurses and consultants, has been made evident. Inadequate hospital staffing is a huge challenge, and has led to reduced services and overstretched medical professionals, some of whom are suffering greatly and are likely to remain exhausted from the crisis for some time. But the situation is also a great opportunity. Interest from the wider public in training or retraining into medical careers has never been greater, and an increased sense of the importance and value of their work has helped to sustain medical students as they have been prematurely immersed into practical medical care. The entire nation has applauded them, and I believe would stand behind a decision to put the UK‚’s healthcare professions on to a higher priority, permanent footing. At present, the UK trains insufficient medical staff with an expectation of importing professionals to meet our needs. I propose that the UK changes its model to train numbers of medical staff far in excess of our national requirements with an expectation of exporting professionals and expertise to nations around the globe. This proposal is not simply about expanding intakes for university courses, as the Government has already sought to do. It would entail the UK to rethink massively expanded localised training provision and routes, and prioritise medical science and healthcare as a growth sector of training, employment and investment within the economy, and as a planned export in the cause of global aid and diplomacy.
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