The national Selecting for Excellence Executive Group has been formed with the aim to support aspiring doctors from under-represented social and economic backgrounds.
Its initiatives will include looking at access to work experience in the NHS, outreach programmes, the use of contextual data in admissions and the impact of different university selection methods on widening participation.
According to the council, while medicine has made significant progress in recruiting more female doctors and doctors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, there remains “great enthusiasm” for improving access to the profession among students from broader social and economic backgrounds.
“The NHS treats people from every background so it’s only right that our doctors represent every section of society. In recent years we have made significant progress towards a more meritocratically selected medical workforce. But there is still more to do,” said health minister Dan Poulter.
Members of the group will include Les Ebdon, head of the Office for Fair Access, representatives from government departments and members of the BMA Medical Students Committee, the General Medical Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Health Education England, NHS Employers, the Social Mobility Foundation and the Brightside Trust.
Tony Weetman, chair of the MSC said the project represented a commitment from the UK’s medical schools and medical profession as a whole “to ensure we are selecting the right people for a career as a doctor”.
“Our common purpose is to harness existing best practice and develop new initiatives that ensure we can draw on the widest pool of talent to create excellent doctors.
“A medical team which can fully recognise the diversity of the population it serves will be better placed to meet the UK’s increasingly complex health needs,” he added.