This is a good idea, and could be extended to provision of loans to undergraduates from less popular areas, provided they agree to work for 5 years as a graduate. Even better, only appoint graduates to medical school, and then we the citizen/taxpayer will get better value.. The local authority might help with housing as well. In Pembrokeshire the Hospital had 14 houses at it’s disposal when I arrived – a great help to new doctors in the area while they looked for a home.
Top medical graduates should be given incentives to work in hospitals in deprived areas under a “Care First” scheme to improve healthcare in poorer regions, a campaign group says today.
The proposal from Renewal, a centre right organisation, would build on Teach First, the two-year scheme which provides teacher training for bright graduates in some of the most deprived schools in the country.
The Care First plan would encourage medical graduates to work in hospitals or with GPs for two years in areas where there was a shortage of top doctors. Local hospitals in these areas would be able to bid for doctors from the new scheme, which would be run by the Government.
Details of the scheme have not been worked out but the government would give the brightest medical graduates financial incentives to join the scheme, such as having part of their student loan or their medical fees paid.
The proposal is the brainchild of David Skelton, founder of Renewal, who is looking at ways of attracting healthcare professionals to some of the worst hospitals in the country. It would also complement a plan announced by Norman Lamb, the health minister, to set up a fast track programme to train top graduates to work as mental health social workers.
Around 100 would-be social workers are to be recruited this year with the programme starting in 2016.
The medical Care First proposal, which has already been discussed with health officials, is to be part of Renewal’s manifesto for the Conservative party next May. “Far from being an issue the party should ignore, campaigning to boost the standard of healthcare – especially in the most deprived areas of the country – is directly linked to the Conservative’s long term economic plan,” said Mr Skelton.
“A strong economy is an absolute pre-requisite for a strong and well-funded health service. The Prime Minister has always been a firm believer in the NHS and this government has made it its mission to empower the patient,” he added.
Mr Skelton also called on a Conservative government to continue to phase out hospital car parking charges. While one in four hospitals no longer charge for parking some still set very high rates, he said. The Royal Free Hospital charged £3 an hour, or £72 a day, the Bristol Royal Infirmary charged £15 for 9 hours, while Luton and Dunstable Hospital charged £20 for more than 12 hours, he claimed.
The Department of Health said the mental health programme for social workers – entitled Think Ahead – was being developed with sector experts and mental health service users. “We know that social work can struggle to attract talented groups of people, particularly in mental health and we want to change this.”
Wales is so short of applicants. The Welsh Governement is going to fly them in..