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Seven in 10 medical students cannot afford basic necessities, finds survey

More than seven in 10 UK medical students said they cannot afford basic necessities, according to a survey.

An annual BMA poll found over two-third (70%) of 639 surveyed students have no choice but to go without essentials, such as heating and food, to be able to cope financially. 

The BMA said the findings are ‘not necessarily surprising as just under half of respondents said that they anticipate running out of money before the end of the year, up from 40% in the last survey’. 

The survey also revealed the average total debt for students amounts to £43,700, of which £38,406 relates to the student loan. This compares to an overall debt of £28,884 in Scotland, where students are not subject to tuition fees.

Since 2012/13, tuition fees have significantly increased, jumping from £3,290 to £9,250.

In its previous survey, conducted in 2013 and looking specifically at first year medical students, the BMA reported the mean average debt for medical students amounted to £16,167.

The BMA said: ‘The financial burden of studying medicine is too much for some respondents and 5.5% were considering leaving their course.

‘Worryingly, more than two-thirds of respondents said they are cutting down on essentials such as heating, food or professional clothes to economise. 

‘Relatedly, the rate of applications for hardship funding following consultations with student support services has risen since the last survey.’