Intended for healthcare professionals


Increasing diversity among clinicians

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 15 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1082
  1. Hugh Ip, student editor1,
  2. I C McManus, professor of psychology and medical education2
  1. 1BMJ Editorial, BMA House, London WC1H 9JR
  2. 2Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London WC1E 6BT
  1. hughip{at}

Is politically correct but is costly and lacks evidence to support it

UK medical students tend to come from higher socioeconomic classes,1 perhaps not surprisingly, as social class correlates with intellectual ability.2 As part of the UK government’s widening participation initiative, there is a push to increase the proportion of students from lower socioeconomic classes (as well as mature students, those from minority racial groups, and disabled people) in higher education. Two underlying principles exist for medicine in particular. The first, social justice, aims to ensure fair access to a degree course that is the gateway into the medical profession.3 The second is the belief that a diverse population of doctors can better serve a diverse population of patients.4 To help promote widening participation, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Department of Health have provided funding to medical schools for projects such as outreach schemes at local schools and innovative degree programmes.5

In the accompanying article, Garlick and Brown describe the six year extended medical degree programme (EMDP) at King’s College London.6 The first two years of the conventional medical curriculum is spread over three years, which allows for more academic and pastoral support. It is open to students from low achieving state …

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