Intended for healthcare professionals

Head To Head

Does it matter that medical graduates don’t get jobs as doctors? Yes

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:990
  1. Graham Winyard, former postgraduate dean
  1. 1Winchester, Hampshire S023 9TE
  1. gwinyard{at}

Last year’s shortfall in training places looks set to be repeated. Graham Winyard believes this is a betrayal of students’ expectations, but Alan Maynard (doi: 10.1136/bmj.39555.500613.AD) thinks it is inevitable if patients are to get the best care

Before last year, this question would have been seen as academic and irrelevant, more colloquially a complete “no brainer.” As a nation we invest in medical training because we want the services of doctors, not to produce management consultants or playwrights. The thousands of young people who compete fiercely for medical school places each year do so because they want to work as doctors, not gain an expensive general education. Of course not all medical graduates pursue lifelong careers in medicine. Doctors have always made high profile contributions in other fields—Jonathan Miller and David Owen are good contemporary examples in the United Kingdom. But the cohort studies of the UK Medical Careers Research Group clearly show that more than 95% work in medicine in the long term, though not necessarily in the UK or the NHS (M …

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