Supply and demand
How do countries produce the right number of doctors? Toby Reynolds reports
In July two new UK medical schools, Peninsula and East Anglia, presented their first graduates. The two institutions are among nine new centres established in the country over the past seven years as part of government efforts to increase the medical workforce. Yet at the same time headlines in the general press have been predicting that a shake-up of postgraduate training will bring mass unemployment for junior doctors only a few years after qualification.
In fact the length of medical training programmes means that the expansion of undergraduate intake in England to a preliminary 6429 in 2006 from 3749 in 1997—the largest increase since the foundation of the National Health Service—is unlikely to have contributed much to the number of junior doctors unable to get training posts. And although the deputy chief medical officer has warned that some graduates might have to scale back their expectations and apply for less