Why apprenticeships must be part of the workforce plan

Apprenticeships are the missing piece of the puzzle to reduce staff shortages and treatment waiting times. They can also promote diversity, says Professor Lynne Gell, Dean of the School of Nursing, at BPP.

It's no secret NHS wait times are at historical highs — with new stories linked to waiting lists making headlines almost daily. Moreover, a recent BBC News investigation found that NHS patients are facing delays on 'hidden' waiting lists that do not show up in the official figures in England.1 While the published waiting list stands at around 7.6 million, the true magnitude of the backlog seems to be significantly higher.

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, recently admitted that not enough progress has been made to reduce NHS waiting lists.2 Latest NHS figures show that the number of people who waited more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England increased by nearly 25% in January, compared to December 2023.

These challenges are being felt across every corner of the NHS too. Data from the British Heart Foundation3 reveals that NHS waiting lists for cardiac care have doubled in less than three years with hundreds of thousands facing delays that can be life-threatening. Cardiac waiting lists rose to 408,061 at the end of January 2024, in England, compared to 203,893 in February 2021.

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