Medicine falls down on access initiatives

October 17, 2003

Medical students warned the government last week that it was not doing enough to widen participation in medicine, and suggested that top-up fees would make the situation worse, writes Anna Fazackerley.

During a meeting with higher education minister Alan Johnson, the British Medical Association student committee warned that medical schools were still filled with middle-class students. They called on Mr Johnson to implement separate access agreements for medical schools.

According to a BMA survey, 70 per cent of medical students come from professional or managerial backgrounds. Less than a fifth come from families where the main source of income is from manual or routine work.

Daniel Gibbons, a medical student from University College London and deputy chair of the committee, told The THES : "Theminister raised his eyebrows when we quoted that figure."

He said Mr Johnson admitted that medical courses would be likely to charge the highest top-up fees. The BMA said the medical profession must become more representative of the population it served.

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