You report that "students from rich backgrounds" are more likely than poor ones to gain entry to medicine and other subjects allied to medicine, which includes nursing. But nursing itself covers a wide range of different subjects, and the overall category masks some important differences.
More specific figures on nursing degrees given to Parliament by Malcolm Wicks MP in 2001 showed that whereas medicine recruited 33 per cent of its students from a professional background, the corresponding figure for nursing was 6.6 per cent. For manual (skilled and unskilled), the figures were 21.5 per cent and 41.3 per cent respectively. Nursing, which is a large discipline, is an important route for access to higher education.
Head of the School of Health and Social Care, Greenwich University