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Access to medical school narrowing for graduate-entry students

Access to medical school is narrowing for people wishing to study medicine who already have a degree, according to a group of current graduate-entry medical students. In a letter to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine they describe how, in recent years, several four-year graduate-entry courses have closed or narrowed requirements to exclude individuals with non-scientific backgrounds. This is despite the fact that some studies have shown the academic performance of graduate-entry medical students exceeding the performance of school leavers.

Four-year graduate-entry courses are under threat because of recent recommendations that full GMC registration should occur at the point of graduation from medical school. With graduate-entry courses, the first Foundation Programme year counts as the fifth year of medical study. Current EU guidance states qualifying medical degrees require five years of study.

In their letter the medical students say that while five-year undergraduate courses are open to graduates, they are financially punitive because they do not allow those with prior degrees to receive a student loan.

Graduate-entry courses, they write, increase the diversity of a historically middle-class profession and graduates are more likely to pick careers in general practice which fits with current UK health policy priorities.

The students call for new avenues to be explored to ensure that able and talented graduates from diverse backgrounds are not blocked out of the profession for financial or technical reasons.

Notes to editors

Graduate-entry medicine: a worthwhile innovation, by Carl Williams, Chiara Ilesley, Annabel Driscoll, Cristina Navarro Sanchis, Bethany Koh and Emma Alexander (DOI: 10.1177/0141076818800817) will be published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine at 00:05 (UK time) on Thursday 20 September 2018.

The link for the full text version of the letter when published will be:

For further information or a copy of the letter please contact:

Rosalind Dewar
Media Office, Royal Society of Medicine
DL: +44 (0) 1580 764713
M: +44 (0) 7785 182732

The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM) is a leading voice in the UK and internationally for medicine and healthcare. Published continuously since 1809, JRSM features scholarly comment and clinical research. JRSM is editorially independent from the Royal Society of Medicine, and its editor is Dr Kamran Abbasi.

JRSM is a journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and it is published by SAGE Publishing.

Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 1000 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne.

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