Notes to editors
In Capital Health? Creative solutions to London's NHS workforce challenges, by James Buchan, Belinda Finlayson and Pippa Gough, is available from The King's Fund publications on 020 7307 2591.
For a review copy, case studies, or for further information, please contact Daniel Reynolds in the public affairs office on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927.
- The Guy's, King's and St Thomas' (GKT) School of Medicine is attracting more students from the local community who are from low income and under-represented ethnic minority backgrounds, but who may not have the necessary academic grades. They have been doing this by realising that traditional medical schools require levels of academic achievement that are unlikely to be achieved by students from deprived communities. GKT works with local schools and colleges to encourage students to apply. To be eligible, students must be nominated by their school, their projected A-level results must be lower than those of students admitted to the conventional course and they must live or study in one of the ten inner London boroughs covered by the programme.
- The work of the London deanery in preparing refugee doctors, who find it difficult to compete with UK-trained doctors, for a career in the health service. The refugee doctors are trained to develop interview skills, improve their language skills for consultations, and understand general practice and hospital medicine in the UK through clinical attachments. Of the 29 refugee doctors that originally took part in the programme, 17 are now working as Senior House Officers.
- A successful international recruitment campaign by University College London Hospitals which has seen nurses from the Philippines arrive, initially, on two-year contracts. UCLH offers the nurses accommodation and helps them to integrate into the London community, for example by opening bank accounts from them. UCLH has successfully recruited nursing staff from the Philippines on four occasions. The trust reports a very high retention of the nurses it has recruited from overseas. On the last recruitment trip, 73 nurses were offered jobs, 68 actually travelled to the UK and all are still working at the trust.
Key London workforce facts:
- The NHS in London already employs more than 142,000 people, representing approximately one in six of all staff in the NHS workforce nationally;
- Qualified nursing and midwifery staff are the biggest group, with almost 50,000 being employed; there are also 20,000 qualified allied health professionals and other qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff, and 40,000 administrative and estates staff;
- A BMA survey found that only a fifth of the students who graduated from London medical schools in 1995 were still living in London in 2002. Most of the remainder were living in central or southern England;
- Twenty-eight per cent of London nurses on the register of the Nursing and Midwifery Council were from overseas in 2002, compared with around eight per cent for the UK as a whole;
- In 2001-02, the NHS spent more than £220 million on agency nurses in London, a figure that has doubled over the last four years and now represents 40 per cent of the total for England.
- Hospitals in central London face nursing staff turnover levels of up to 38 per cent each year;
- The vacancy rate for the allied health professions in London is 8.3 per cent. It is 4.1 per cent for doctors and dentists;
- In some parts of London, one in four family doctors are due to retire in the next few years;
- In April 2003, 54 per cent of the 849 doctors on the BMA/Refugee Council database of refugee doctors were based in London.