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NHS Prepares For Medical Doctor Apprenticeships To Begin

In just a few months, the first students to undertake medical doctor degree apprenticeships will begin their training, enabling them to work as qualified clinicians once they have completed the course. 

This comes after the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, together with the Department for Education, agreed proposals for the new apprenticeship scheme in July 2022. 

Once the apprentices finish their training, they will attain a medical degree and will have met General Medical Council (GMC) requirements so they can work as doctors. 

The difference between undertaking this type of apprenticeship and doing a traditional medical degree at university is that apprentices will be paid while they complete their education. 

At the same time, the cost of training for the 200 students will be paid for by NHS England, while employers can use the apprenticeship levy to cover the tuition fees for up to £27,000. 

Apprentices will also get hospital experience from the beginning, spending their entire time working in a healthcare setting. It will take five years to complete their training, which is typically the same length of time that a medical degree takes to finish. 

The programme will also enable the workforce to better represent local communities, with NHS Employers saying: “The next generation of medical doctors will more closely monitor the population they work within.”

So far, four medical schools have signed up to the scheme, including Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Plymouth, and Queen Mary University of London. 

However, it is expected that more apprenticeship training providers will join over the next few years, particularly as the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan hopes to increase medical degree apprenticeships to 850 in 2028/29 and to 2,000 by 2031/32.