Department of Health and Social Care
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Government considers more flexible training for healthcare professionals switching discipline

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.

The government will consider how to better recognise the skills and experience of existing healthcare professionals who want to train in a different area of healthcare.

Newly designed courses could take into account existing qualifications, training and experience, making it easier and quicker for existing healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists or pharmacists to train as doctors.

The current training standards are set by the EU. They mean that healthcare professionals wishing to move into another area have to complete a set training course, regardless of any existing health background or qualifications.

This includes 5,500 hours of training and a minimum of 5 years to become a doctor.

Under the potential new system, a physiotherapist who has been in the job for 10 years could complete training based on their experience and qualifications, rather than fixed time-frames.

This will contribute to the government’s ongoing recruitment commitment, which also includes a drive to deliver 50,000 more nurses and 6,000 more GPs by 2025.

It could also allow people from a wider range of backgrounds to train, by offering training that can fit around caring or parenting responsibilities.

Any new education and training courses will be rigorously tested to make sure the UK’s high medical standards continue to be met.

The General Medical Council’s Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) will help to ensure this. The MLA is a standard that all doctors who wish to practise in the UK will need to meet from 2023.

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