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UK needs 26,500 more docs to meet OECD average

4 November 2015

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The UK needs 26,500 more doctors just to meet the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, the Health at a Glance 2015 report revealed when released this morning.

The cost of this would be an additional £2.4 to £2.6 billion annually, as the average doctor costs £100,000 annually in terms of a salary and pension, the Nuffield Trust, who took part in the report, said.

The OECD was founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade, it carries out research to improve policy, and the organisation currently has 34 member countries including Italy, France, Germany, the USA and Canada.

This research looks at primary care and secondary care doctors combined, and out of all of the OECD countries, France is average in terms of the number of doctors it employs.

Speaking at the release of the report in Westminster this morning, Mark Pearson, OECD deputy director of employment, labour and social affairs (pictured), said: “We still have significantly fewer doctors than the average, and it’s also true of nurses. We have about 8.2 nurses per 1,000 population, compared to the OECD average of 9.1. So there certainly is an issue about how many resources are in the health system.”

In order to meet the OECD average of nurses, there must be 47,700 to 50,000 more NHS nurses, and with the average nurse costing £35-£40,000 annually this would mean an additional £1.66 billion spend annually.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust added: “It’s very difficult to get the basics right if the entire managerial system is pointed upwards and we don’t have enough staff.”