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A faulty production line

DH to publish proposals for widening access to medical profession

The Government will soon publish new proposals for widening access to the medical profession to people of all backgrounds, Pulse has learnt.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter met with Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, last month to discuss ways to make the medical profession more accessible and ‘encourage aspiration’.

The proposals will be released in the Government’s mandate to Health Education England, the organisation responsible for NHS education, training and recruitment, which Pulse has learnt will be published ‘shortly’.

The GMC has commissioned independent research on student selection, and has also recently launched a review into the success of certain groups of medical graduates taking the MRCGP exam.

A BMA report published in 2009 found only one in seven successful applicants to UK medical schools are from the lowest economic groups, despite them making up just under half of the UK population.

Professor Bill Irish, the chair of the GP National Recruitment Office and a GP in Bristol recently told Pulse that the top universities in the country, whose entry requirements tend to focus on academic qualifications, are not doing enough to produce future GPs and are adding to a recruitment crisis in the profession.

Mr Dickson said: ‘Medical schools are responsible for selecting students and they have done some excellent work to promote fairness and encourage aspiration.

‘We have been working with the Department of Health in England and the Medical Schools Council to make sure medical education is accessible to everyone with the ability and aptitude to be a good doctor.

‘To understand this issue better, we have published independent research on student selection and we have included new questions on the socio-economic backgrounds of doctors in training in our annual National Training Survey. We all want the profession to attract the brightest and the best talent from all parts of society.’

A DH spokesman said: ‘Proposals to support wider access to medical education will be published shortly in the Health Education England mandate.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Hazel Drury

    So long as educational policies ghettoise working class kids into under-performing strapped for cash schools social mobility levels of yesteryear are not something I can forsee returning. I speak as s working class kid who had an assisted place 30 years ago. I tied sending my kids to state school but they didn't have the resources to deal with them - one dyslexic and one very bright. Now I work myself to death to pay school fees (single parent).

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  • Ensure it`s worth it the effort.That might help!

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  • Good for you Hazel
    My Dad was a manual worker and Mum a cleaner.
    I went to med school 26 years ago.
    My only daughter wants to go into medicine (not my idea) but we moved her from state to independent school as she was floundering on the rocks of mediocrity and we were told the school had resources to raise pupils to a standard but could not encourage betterment of the higher achievers. I'd have gone part time without the school fees as I cannot stand working the way I do, except that it's for my childs future and not mine. (South East)

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