Nurses, paramedics and pharmacists should be trained to fill in for doctors and help meet the demand in the NHS in England, bosses say.

Management body NHS Employers has approved the plan after advisers said there were a range of extra tasks they could do with more training.

A Nuffield Trust review found some areas in England are already using nurses to fill in for hospital doctors and pharmacists for GPs.

It has been well documented that there are gaps in junior doctor rotas, while GPs are struggling to cope with the rising number of patients coming through their doors. However, unions have warned against using it as a quick fix for problems in the NHS.

The Nuffield Trust was asked by NHS Employers to look at how the 1.3 million-strong workforce could be reshaped to tackle the problem.

Candace Imison, report author and Nuffield Trust Director of Policy said there were “huge opportunities” in reshaping the workforce, in both improving patient care and providing staff with more rewarding roles.

Experts have warned nurses and paramedics are being seen as a ‘cheaper alternative to highly qualified staff and this could leader to poorer care.’

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