Affording the professions

The Fair Access to the Professions report is just out.

The bottom line is that there are not many students studying medicine or law from lower social classes. According to the British Medical Association, just 4 per cent of medical students are from lower social classes.

I for one am not convinced that it therefore all about “raising aspirations”. A longer course means more tuition fees, as well as less time to take on a part-time job: medical students currently graduate with debt of about £19,000, estimated to increase to £37,000 once changes in tuition fees have filtered through to those starting their course after 2006.

Nor can doctors assume to walk into a job on graduation – thanks to the NHS Medical Training Application Service (MTAS), doctors have been entirely unsure where, or if, their next training job will start. I would not expect anyone – at least anyone without a family to bankroll their career choice – to think that medicine would be a secure option.

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