NHS England must train more doctors and nurses in Britain and reduce its reliance on foreign staff, its chief executive has said.
More medical school places are needed to stop British candidates being turned away because courses are full, Amanda Pritchard said.
She added that she wanted to stop spending £3 billion a year on agency staff, and that this should be the exception rather than the rule.
In an interview with The Times, Ms Pritchard admitted that patients were dying because of record waiting times in emergency care.
NHS England has more than 133,000 unfilled vacancies, with staff and unions warning of exhausted and burned-out staff leaving the health service or moving to other English-speaking countries in search of better pay or working conditions.
The 7,500 medical school places on offer in the UK each year are oversubscribed, with “excellent” candidates being turned away, Ms Pritchard said.
The NHS will be “very ambitious” in increasing the number of homegrown recruits, she told The Times.
“There’s no lack of demand,” she said.
“We are seeing universities having to turn away excellent people, not just for medical degrees but nursing, therapy — across the board.
“Obviously you’re also looking at the ability of universities to ramp up the training places and of the NHS to make sure we’ve got the right clinical places, but over the next few years we would want to be in a position where we were increasingly able to be self reliant on having a workforce that would meet demand.”
Figures released this week show that Accident and Emergency waiting times were at their worst levels on record last month, with 55,000 people forced to wait on trolleys for at least 12 hours after a decision to admit them.
Ambulance waiting times were also at their worst on record, with heart attack victims waiting an average of 90 minutes for an ambulance in December.