THE GREATER number of medical students in teaching hospitals is putting pressure on patients who in turn are withdrawing goodwill, it has been claimed.
Derek McLaughlan, chairman of the British Medical Association Medical Student Committee, says the committee welcomes increased admissions to medical schools but fears more student doctors on wards from earlier in their degrees will mean the pressure on patients will eventually become too much.
"Numbers of medical students have been increasing over the past few years and the new medical degree means some students have clinical experience from day one," said Mr McLaughlan, a fourth-year medical student.
The committee had received regular reports from representatives at medical schools of patients being overburdened with students, he said. "Most patients do want to help. But we are not surprised they are increasingly frustrated. They have a whole tribe of students gawping at them. More patients are saying they don't want students."
Recent reforms to some medical degrees have meant medical schools introducing students to hospital wards and patients from their first day, rather than waiting until the third year.