A disproportionate number of medical students in the UK come from the most affluent homes and neighbourhoods, a survey of nearly 33,000 applicants has found.
The study by academics at Dundee and Central Lancashire universities of applications to 22 medical schools also found that applicants from the wealthiest backgrounds – particularly in Scotland and Wales – were more likely to be given places than applicants from poorer homes.
The data has reinforced longstanding anxieties that Britain’s doctors and surgeons fail to mirror the profile of society: 80% of medical students came from households containing professionals or those in higher managerial roles, and more than a quarter from private schools.
Katie Petty-Saphon, chief executive of the Medical Schools Council (MSC), the sector’s representative body, said medical schools were deeply concerned by the issue. They had already been shocked by “completely appalling” figures showing that 50% of secondary schools had never had a pupil apply to medical school.
“We need to access the widest possible talent pool because it is both a privilege and a responsibility to become a doctor,” she said. “We need to make sure we have the right opportunities for all those pupils who have the right aptitude to be excellent professionals.”
Read more in The Guardian.