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Big expansion of nurse and doctor training planned by Labour

Published on: 26 Sep 2022

Labour would use revenue from a reversal in the 45 per cent rate of income tax to fund “one of the largest NHS workforce expansions in history,” the shadow chancellor has announced.

In her conference speech today, Rachel Reeves said Labour pledged to increase the number of medical school placements, while also training 5,000 more health visitors and creating an extra 10,000 nursing and midwifery clinical placements each year.

It comes after chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement last Friday.

A policy briefing confirmed the pledged medical school places expansion would cost up to £1.1bn per year, with Labour benching this against increasing those places by 7,500 doctors per year. The recommendation came from a policy published by the Royal College of Physicians in January 2021.

Labour’s promise of an additional 10,000 nursing and midwifery clinical placements per year would come to approximately £51m per year, with each one costing about £5,000 to deliver, according to a study by the Personal Services Social Research Unit.

Meanwhile, the pledge to train 5,000 new health visitors – or 1,000 per year – would cost £100m per year. Labour claimed this would return services to “safe caseload numbers” of 250 children per health visitor. Estimates suggest there is a current shortfall of 5,000 health visitors in England.

Ms Reeves said: “Our priority is not tax cuts for the wealthiest few, it is securing our public finances and investing in our public services.

“I can tell you: with a Labour government, those at the top will pay their fair share. The 45p top rate of income tax is coming back.”