Selection of medical studentsBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7362.495/a (Published 31 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:495
How can medical schools produce good doctors if political dogma restricts them?
- David Howes (DMHowes@Blueyonder.co.uk), consultant anaesthetist.
- Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham B31 2AP
- Sheffield Medical School, Sheffield S10 2RX
- University of Sheffield Recruitment and Admissions Office, Sheffield S3 7QX
EDITOR—Tutton and Price raise several points about the selection of medical students that need to be clarified.1 They rightly say that scholastic achievement, aptitude tests, and selection interviews can all be faulted as means of selecting students for a career in medicine, but they seem to agree that general intelligence, allied with emotional stability and social integration, is a good predictor of achievement.
The main thrust of their editorial, however, is to advocate affirmative action to increase the intake of students from lower socioeconomic groups. The justification for this is to “redress inequities from the past” and admit students who have “genuine, rather than apparent, merit.” To further this end at Witwatersrand University in South Africa, interviews have been abandoned because those in low socioeconomic groups scored badly in the criteria of teamwork, leadership, and social involvement. I assume that prior scholastic achievement is …