News in brief: February 2010
The UK government’s policy of widening access to medical schools is failing, according to the BMA. The BMA looked at the background of students who successfully applied to medical schools in 2008. It found that the number of students coming from poor families had risen by just 1.7% since 2003, despite the government having invested £392m (€445m; $640m) in widening access to higher education.
It did find, however, that good progress had been made in attracting ethnic minorities and women to medical school. Bhupinder Sandhu, chairwoman of the BMA’s equal opportunity committee, said that medical schools are “still not recruiting enough students from low income backgrounds.” She said that the figures may be partly attributable to the high cost of a medical education; it is estimated that the average doctor in the United Kingdom graduates with £37 000 of debt.
A Department of Health spokesperson said that consultation was in progress