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South East gets biggest share of new trainees

Published on: 13 May 2024

Ministers have announced the locations of 350 additional medical training places for 2025–26, with the largest share going to the South East region.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the new allocations represented the “next stage in delivering the NHS long-term workforce plan commitment to double medical school places by 2031”.

The places were also “targeted to address disparities in the distribution of places and support under-doctored areas”, a department statement added.

The move follows HSJ revealing last month that 205 extra places created in 2024–25 went to regions which already had a disproportionately large share and more doctors working per head of population.

London got the most additional places in 2024-25, while the South East, East of England and South West did not get any.

But the new allocations appear to begin to address the inequity, with the South East getting the largest number and London the smallest (see full list and regional tables below). However, big gaps will remain (see table below on regional spread).

The DHSC said: “Places have been provided across the country, but the [Office for Students] has used analysis of geographical distribution provided by NHSE to target under-doctored areas in its allocation of the places.

“This includes substantial increases to medical schools at universities in Sunderland, Leeds, East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin, Plymouth and Surrey. The University of Surrey is also receiving government-funded places for the first time.”

Medical Schools Council CEO Katie Petty-Saphon said: “Medical schools are committed to widening participation to the profession and particularly important is the need for local recruitment in under-doctored areas.”

Health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins said: “I want to make sure that we will have the medical professionals we will need in the years ahead.”

There remain concerns about finding enough clinical placements for trainees and the availability of senior staff to supervise and train them, as well as uncertainty about whether the NHS will be funded to employ the expanded numbers in the future.

Full list of 2025–26 additional places

London – 10 places

Brunel University London 3

Queen Mary, University of London 3

St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London 1

University College London 3

South East – 77

Universities of Brighton and Sussex 4

Universities of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church 9

University of Southampton 17

University of Surrey 34

King’s College London: Portsmouth Medical School (in partnership with the University of Portsmouth) 13

Midlands – 58

Aston University 10

University of Birmingham 8

Keele University 7

University of Leicester 3

University of Nottingham: Lincoln Medical School (in partnership with University of Lincoln) 4

University of Nottingham 4

University of Warwick 10

University of Worcester 12

East of England – 55

Anglia Ruskin University Higher Education Corporation 28

University of East Anglia 27

North East and Yorkshire 52

Universities of Hull and York 8

University of Leeds 16

University of Newcastle upon Tyne 2

University of Sheffield 9

University of Sunderland 17

North West – 54

Edge Hill University 13

University of Central Lancashire 6

University of Chester 5

Imperial College: Pears Cumbria Medical School (in partnership with Imperial College London) 8

Lancaster University 5

University of Liverpool 13

University of Manchester 4

South West – 44

University of Bristol 17

University of Exeter 10

University of Plymouth 17