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GMC praises efforts to boost diversity among medical students

Scottish medical schools have been praised by the doctors’ regulator for attempts to attract students from more disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds.

A GMC review of medical education in Scotland found all five medical schools are working to improve access resources for young people from lower income backgrounds who want to become doctors.

This includes the Reach Scotland programme which works with schools to prepare students for university life and provides help with applications and offers adjusted entry requirements for those taking part.

At the Glasgow School of Medicine more than 20% of students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, the GMC report says.

This is due to initiatives such as a summer school to boost the skills of potential students and a pre-medical school course which guarantees entry following successful examinations.

The GMC also pointed to an outreach programme at Aberdeen School of Medicine and NHS Grampian which guarantees entry for students from deprived backgrounds who meet the minimum academic requirements for the course.

Some concerns were raised in the report including rota gaps having a knock-on effect on the time students have to study.

Dr Colin Melville, the GMC’s director of education and standards, said the standards of training and education found in Scotland were very high.

He added: ‘Medicine needs to celebrate the contribution from students from all social backgrounds and so encouraging people from under-represented groups to consider a career as a doctor is hugely important.’

Dr Adam Collins, chair of the BMA’s Scottish Junior Doctor Committee, said: ‘This review highlights the negative impact that rota gaps can have on medical training and education.

‘It is essential that boards take steps to fill these gaps appropriately and ensure that there is no detrimental effect on training opportunities for junior doctors.’