Drive for NHS recruits targets the disadvantaged

Health
minister John Hutton has announced a new drive to recruit more NHS staff from
underprivileged backgrounds.

He
said nine schemes would be set up around the country to help people from
disadvantaged backgrounds become doctors, nurses and allied health
professionals (AHPs).

The
schemes, which have been given £9m funding by the Department of Health and the
Higher Education Funding Council for England over five years, will look at ways
of encouraging a wider range of young people to train in the healthcare
professions.

Government
research shows that 74 per cent of the medical school population come from the
highest three social classes, although just 38 per cent of the working age
population is from this background.

Asian
ethnic groups are under-represented in applicants to nursing courses, and there
is evidence that black and ethnic minority applicants have difficulty in
securing course places, the Government said.

Hutton
said: "It is vital that the NHS not only improves the health of all
sections of the community, but also accurately reflects that community in the
people it employs. We need more doctors, nurses and AHPs, and we need them from
all walks of life.

“It
is unacceptable that some people are effectively held back from these
professions because of their financial, social or cultural background,” he
said.

By Michael Millar

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