The number of trainee doctors in England will be reduced to tackle a growing over-supply of medics, the Department of Health has said.
The number of medical school places will be cut by 124 places, or 2 per cent, in 2013-14 with a further review pending for the 2015 intake.
A report by Health and Education National Strategic Exchange used data and calculations by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence to estimate the supply of trained doctors in future years.
It has found that by 2025, when students entering medical school next year will become fully qualified, there will be an oversupply of more than 10,000 trained hospital doctors.
The 2 per cent cut in training places is expected to have an impact from 2025 onwards.
The DH said it fears a “brain drain” in England if the predicted oversupply happens, with medics moving abroad to find work.
Ministers have accepted the report and agreed to reduce training places to prevent money being wasted on training surplus doctors.
Further reviews will be carried out every three years between now and 2025 to ensure a sensible supply.
Even with the reduction in places there will still be approximately 27,000 more doctors in 2025 than in 2011.
Health minister Dan Poulter said: “The government is taking action now so that patients’ needs will continue to be met in 2025, and money is not wasted training more doctors than the NHS requires, who could end up having to go abroad to find work.”
Sir Graeme Catto, who chaired the review alongside NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, added: “This report is an important piece of work which looks ahead at the future medical and dental workforce needs of the NHS and enables us to plan to ensure that those workforce needs are met.
“It will help us maintain the standards of care that the public rightly expect. I am pleased that ministers have accepted the recommendations of this report.”
A number of initiatives are also being considered to increase the number of GPs in the healthcare workforce.