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In brief: Student numbers, special measures, vanguards

UK student boost
Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt announced his intention at his party’s conference to train 1,500 extra UK doctors a year to compensate for a possible exodus of EU staff post-Brexit.

While final status negotiations have not yet begun, over 15 per cent of specialists hail from the bloc, prompting fears of a shortage.

Currently half of those applying to medical school are rejected due to a 6,000 cap. But the proposal attracted immediate questions over funding and timeframes, given the additional years it would take to train the 2017-18 intake.

A Department of Health consultation will be launched on the plans shortly.

3 more in ’measures’
NHS Improvement troubleshooters are descending on three more acute trusts whose financial health the regulator said “has simply not been good enough.”

Essex Sussex Healthcare Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust, and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust have been placed into “financial special measures,” adding to five in July. All three trusts were a long way from meeting local “savings targets.”

Under the regime the regulator sends in a team to agree a recovery plan within a month. They can also choose to control spending decisions and have the power to remove senior Trust management.

Ambitions trimmed
NHS “vanguard” projects which have been slated as a key part of transformation plans in the Five Year Forward View have faced substantial funding shortfalls, it was reported in September.

The schemes, designed to trial various innovations in care, had received £69.6 million of the £215.9m 2016-17 funding they requested. Several Vanguard Trusts told the HSJ that the shortfall had seen them trim back their initial ambitions.