Intended for healthcare professionals


Widening participation in medicine

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 15 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1111
  1. Pamela B Garlick, senior lecturer in medical education and course director, extended medical degree programme1,
  2. Gavin Brown, lecturer in human geography2
  1. 1King’s College London, London SE1 1UL
  2. 2University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH
  1. Correspondence to: P B Garlick pamela.garlick{at}
  • Accepted 29 January 2008

The extended medical degree programme at King’s College London shows that widening participation in medicine can be successful, but requires appreciable extra commitment by academic staff

Today’s prevailing view is that tomorrow’s doctors should reflect the social and ethnic diversity of the countries in which they practise. To this end, initiatives to widen participation have been started in medical schools in several countries. Some of these initiatives include a commitment by students to return to their “area of origin” for a specified number of years after qualifying, but most have no such restrictions.1 Widening the participation of previously under-represented groups is not a straightforward process, as is highlighted by the Schwartz report.2 The widening participation initiative at the King’s College London School of Medicine began in 2001. Our remit was to enable bright students from low achieving state schools in inner London to become doctors. Students from the first cohort graduated in June 2007.

EMDP at King’s College London

In 2001, the first year of the extended medical degree programme (EMDP), 10 extra student places were allocated by the Higher Education Funding Council of England. Increases of 10 students a year were approved until the annual intake stabilised at 50.

The programme takes six years rather than five because the content of the first two years of the conventional course is spread over three years to produce gradually increasing workloads of 55%, 65%, and 80% of the conventional programme. EMDP students are integrated with the conventional students from the beginning, but in their extra available time they have tutorials in small groups (maximum of 12 students). The three predominantly clinical years are completed in the standard time.

Currently, the programme is supported by two full time academics; one part time administrator (0.5 full time equivalent); four part time academics (0.1 full time equivalent); …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription