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The Complete Guide to NHS Doctor Degree Apprenticeships
  • 07 Mar 2024
  • News

Health Education England (HEE), the NHS recruitment and training programme, confirmed the funding of a new Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship. In January 2023, it was confirmed that funding would be available for the first 200 medical doctor degrees; the learning of the medical content is expected to begin in September 2024.

The apprenticeships are a part of the NHS England Long Term Workforce Plan, which is described by the NHS as, “The first comprehensive workforce plan for the NHS, putting staffing on a sustainable footing and improving patient care. It focuses on retaining existing talent and making the best use of new technology alongside the biggest recruitment drive in health service history.”

The Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship will work in the same format as a typical degree apprenticeship, as they will earn money and not pay tuition fees throughout their training. But don’t worry, those accepted to train in this programme will be required to meet the same rigorous standards expected of a med student who takes the typical University route by completing a medical degree. The theoretical knowledge will be provided by some of the Universities who offer medical courses currently and the apprentices will be required to meet the requirements for the Medical Register set out by General Medical Council, confirming the apprentices will have the same high-quality qualifications as the doctors you see in hospitals today. It can also be noted, that once medical doctor apprentices finish their degree, they will still complete Foundation Year training for 2 years and have the opportunity to follow the post-graduate pathways available.

How is the Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship Different from University?

The programmes significantly differ as individuals on the degree apprenticeship will be working as trainee medical practitioners throughout the entirety of the course, however, they will be closely supervised until they reach a certain level of training, allowing them to gain high levels of experience in a practical setting.

Is the Medical Doctor Apprentice Programme Good for the NHS?

The inclusion of an apprenticeship programme will greatly benefit the NHS. Encouraging students to join the NHS and get paid, rather than accumulating debt if they took the traditional University route, allowing the NHS to benefit from a wider range of talent. Furthermore, individuals from underprivileged backgrounds who didn’t have the financial backing to support themselves through university now have the opportunity to enter a highly-respected career whilst getting paid during their training.

Graduates with non-medical degrees and those currently working in other healthcare roles will also be given the opportunity to apply, if they meet the applicant criteria set out by employers, ensuring the apprentices have the appropriate values and behaviours of a doctor.

This is an extremely exciting opportunity for young individuals with aspirations to help others in their community whilst avoiding the mountains of debt offered by a traditional medical degree. Furthermore, the NHS has high hopes for this scheme as it’s estimated by 2031, 13% of England’s medical students will be apprentices.

Additional Sources:

NHS doctor apprenticeships: Everything you need to know - The Education Hub (

NHS England » NHS Long Term Workforce Plan

  • 07 Mar 2024
  • News