Medical students fight increase in course feesBMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6989.1270d (Published 13 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1270
Will discriminate against less affluent applicants
- Jane Hutchinson,
- Jonathan Barnes
- House officer in surgery Senior house officer in ophthalmology Sandwell Healthcare NHS Trust, West Bromwich B71 4HJ
EDITOR,—We were concerned to read about the expected rise in fees for medical students.1 As recently qualified mature students, we are aware of the difficulty of raising money to fund a medical course, even with the fees at around pounds sterling700 a year, as they were for us. An increase in the fees will make entry into medical school as a mature student possible only for those from affluent backgrounds.
The current exodus of disillusioned doctors from the profession must partly be due to many of those people having chosen their career at too early an age. At a time when there is a shortage of junior doctors, admission tutors would be well advised to consider sources of potential medical students other than the 18 year olds heading for high grades at A level. This might mean foraging among the ranks of graduates. As the General Medical Council has said, “opportunities should be afforded to those who decide on a career in medicine after gaining experience in other fields.”1
For this to be possible, fees should be kept to a minimum for those students financing themselves. In addition, more positive measures need to be taken to encourage a greater diversity of people to enter the profession—for example, the setting up of a central educational fund specifically aimed at mature medical students.