The Guardian is reporting that Nicola Sturgeon is to spend £23m on boosting the number of students from poor backgrounds at Scottish medical schools after a study found they were dominated by those from the most affluent homes.
The first minister’s initiative draws heavily on data disclosed by the Guardian that only 4.3% of students at Scotland’s five medical schools came from the poorest 20% of postcodes, with Scottish students more likely to be from private schools or with parents from elite professions…
“At present only one in 20 new doctors come from the most disadvantaged areas of our country; if we had truly equal access to the medical profession, that figure would be one in five,” Sturgeon told an audience at Queen Margaret university on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
“That’s bad for those individuals who are denied a fair chance to enter a good career. And it’s also bad for society as a whole – we lose out on too many of the talented and dedicated medics of the future…”
Sturgeon’s initiative will see 50 more places opened at medical schools, with priority given to applicants from poorer backgrounds, alongside a new “entry level programme” based at a medical school to help secondary school pupils from deprived areas prepare to study medicine.
There will also be a graduate entry programme which would include an offer to pay fees, conditional on students agreeing to take up jobs in Scottish hospitals and NHS services after they qualify…
Interesting approach – what do you think?
Would you like to see more initiatives like this, south of the border too?
Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…
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