A nation of medics – part 2

There is a moment of opportunity post-COVID-19 to take the current healthcare professions and expand them into a leading employment and economic driver of the UK economy, and Britain’s diplomatic approach in the wider world. • The current system of training is centred on too few institutions – so increase radically the number of medical schools. Put an end to élitest assumptions and the rejection of many highly-qualified applicants by establishing new medical schools throughout the UK regions, attached to hospital trusts who would welcome the teaching connection. • Young people’s interest in medical careers is at an all-time high – so encourage an expectation that all young people with a relevant aptitude in science or social care should pursue a qualification through the expanded medical training routes, even if they subsequently choose to work outside the sector. Medical training takes longer than other higher education courses, with higher costs – so offer ‘national medical service’ bursaries dependent on students undertaking practical medical work during, or subsequent to, their training. • UK hospitals are grossly understaffed – so flood them with locally-qualified, plentiful qualified personnel. NHS staff feel unappreciated and unvalued – so show them the medical sector is one of the most prioritised UK economic sectors with global opportunities. The UK’s NHS treatments and standards are already respected around the world – so build on existing international sharing of best practice, eg. COVID treatment protocols, and step up proudly as a global educator on healthcare. • UK-trained medical professionals are seen as world-class medics – so export them fearlessly, to countries where there is great need, to countries which seek to develop their medical sectors, to countries we would befriend. Cuba has shown how diplomacy can be developed effectively through medical outreach and assistance; there can be no greater global aid contribution than growing doctors and nurses for the world’s population. COVID-19 has shown that disease respects no nation’s border in our modern, interconnected world. Here is an opportunity for the UK’s medics to similarly work without borders, winning us a global reputation as a nation synonymous with medicine and science, caring for our own, and working for all.

 

 

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