Recruiting the wrong students
Medical schools are still failing to recruit a broad spectrum of students
There are still huge barriers to studying medicine for a large proportion of society. Many studies have shown that people in lower socioeconomic groups have an increased morbidity and are more likely to use healthcare services.1 But for many years the socioeconomic distribution of doctors has been skewed in the opposite direction. In 1984, 83% of medical students admitted to St Mary's medical school were from social class I and II.2 In some cases, such a mismatch in background between patients and doctors may result in difficulties in communication and bias in the treatment offered. For instance, young doctors from affluent backgrounds are unlikely to understand why patients of their own age group resort to illegal addictive drugs.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England recently produced its first set of performance indicators on student participation from different parts of society.3 Three medical schools are counted as separate Higher Education