Although the Department of Health and Social Care leads on this area, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the University of Central Lancashire for the excellent job it is doing. The Government are committed to supporting the NHS by ensuring that its future workforce needs are met. Over recent years we have created an extra 1,500 medical school places and opened five new medical schools across the country, and as a result we have seen record numbers of medical students in training.
Mr Speaker, as a neighbouring MP to me, you know that the quality of education at the University of Central Lancashire medical school has been independently assessed as excellent. At a time when the health service has been crying out for more doctors during the covid-19 pandemic, can the Minister please provide assurances that, through her discussions with the Department for Health and Social Care, the University of Central Lancashire will be allocated an evidence-based significant increase in its permanent allocation of domestic medical school places, for the benefit of the county of Lancashire and the wider north-west region as a whole?
The cap on medical places was lifted last year, and those medical students who had to defer will not count towards the cap this year. If medical training places are to be permanently raised, there will be a process for medical schools to apply for a proportion of the expansion, just as was the case with the recent uplift of 1,500. I am sure that the hon. Member will be more than happy to meet the Minister for Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Helen Whately), who also looks after workforce matters, and that she would be only too happy to discuss the issue with him.