Thursday, 9 June 2011

Save Graduate Entry Medicine!

A couple of days ago I got a nice email from a young man called Chris (well I presume he's young... you never know with these graduate types :-p) asking me if I minded mentioning a bit about the campaign to save graduate entry medicine.

I myself came straight from A-levels to medicine, but I have a great admiration for graduate medics. On the whole they're lovely and they seem so much more motivated, organised and able to study than many of the undergraduates (like me...). In fact only a week or two ago in the pub I was having a big conversation with undergraduate medics about how we felt that medicine should perhaps be a graduate-only subject.

That however is a discussion for another day...

This campaign is basically highlighting that with the new increased tuition fees and potential for the NHS bursary to be removed, most graduates seeking to do medicine will simply be unable to afford it. This will mean lots of people who would make fabulous doctors not reaching their potential, which quite simply isn't fair. All this just because they can't stump up big lumps of cash up front.

I'd harp on about it, but these guys do it a lot better so visit their facebook page, sign their petition, see how the BMA supports them and follow them on twitter @saveGEM

Good luck guys... I really hope that something is done about this.

Lily xXx


Fuddled Medic said...

Its a disgrace, personally I feel GEMS are much better students (I am an undergraduate) as they learn what they need to do as doctors rather then what they need to do to pass exams

Meme said...

I am currently a third year medical student studying in the U.S., where all medical schools are graduate entry only. (I was a Biology and Chemistry double major prior to medical school.)

I can see both sides of the coin here. Entering medical school when you have experienced four years of college ensures more matured candidates. Plus, a lot of medical students here have had families or worked in other jobs for a few years. It's becoming a trend, since the medical schools here are so expensive.

I do agree with Fuddled Medic, the medical students are more proactive when it comes to medical issues rather than passive textbook learners.

While I do strongly support the increase in the number of slots for graduate entry medicine in the U.K., I do not agree that undergraduate medicine should be abolished completely. We need to be more practical and consider the:
(a) rising tuition costs and;
(b) the doctors here don't earn as much as in the U.S. (it has never been a problem but with the rising tuition fees, it might be);
(c) the fact that the grads of medicine in the UK have the longest period of training (2 years of foundation + 6-8 years of speciality training)

Furthermore, there are an exceptional few who know what they want and are matured enough to take on medicine as their first undergraduate degree. It is a more direct route, with shorter time and lesser costs.

The average annual medical tuition in the U.S. is US$40,000-50,000 (assuming non-resident of state). Because we have graduate medicine, medical courses are charged at graduate level fees instead of undergraduate fees (which is the case in the U.K.). In 2009, most medical students in the U.S. have to deal with an average of US$157,990 debt upon graduation. 25.1% of the students here had debt in excess of $200,000 as of 2009.

These numbers are scary, and this is what the U.K. is heading in for if the U.K. government continues to jack up tuition fees. Education has pretty much been commercialized in the U.S., and at the rate at which we are going, it will be accessible only to the rich pretty soon.