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.