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People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds ‘underrepresented’ in medicine, GMC finds

People from a lower socioeconomic background are ‘proportionally underrepresented’ in medicine, a GMC study has found.

The regulator’s National Training Survey questioned 52,797 doctors in training, and its results revealed that there was still large disparities in the numbers of doctors coming from affluent backgrounds compared with those from deprived backgrounds.

The GMC said that it hoped these results would allow medical schools and other groups to see best how to ‘promote fairness and encourage aspiration’.

Using postcodes provided by the trainees, the results revealed that only 17.2% of doctors were brought up in the top 40% of most deprived areas in the UK, compared with 64.6% from the top 40% of most affluent areas.

The study also found that 33.7% of doctors in training came from an independent or fee paying school, compared with a national average of around 7%.

The report concluded: ‘People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are proportionally underrepresented in medicine.’

The GMC chair, Professor Sir Peter Rubin, said: ‘Medicine should attract the brightest and the best from all parts of society. By adding these socioeconomic questions to the GMC’s national training survey, we are better able to see not only which parts of society tomorrow’s doctors are coming from, but where medical schools and others may need to work differently to promote fairness and encourage aspiration.’

The GMC also said that ‘these data may not reflect the impact of efforts to widen access to medicine in recent years’ as many doctors in training entered medical school ‘some years ago’.