The Medical Schools Council has announced a project to widen participation in medicine and to promote excellence in selection.
Through a national Selecting for Excellence Executive Group, comprising social mobility experts and representatives from key organisations, rapid progress will be made to support aspiring doctors from under-represented social and economic backgrounds. While medicine has made significant progress in recruiting more female doctors and doctors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, there remains great enthusiasm for improving access to the profession among students from broader social and economic backgrounds, and the Selecting for Excellence Executive Group is keen to create new opportunities in this area.
The group’s work will focus on a range of initiatives, including access to work experience in the NHS, outreach programmes, the use of contextual data in admissions and the impact of different selection methods on widening participation.
Professor Les Ebdon CBE, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education and a member of the Selecting For Excellence Executive Group, said “I’m pleased to be a member of this group to support medicine’s efforts to ensure that no-one is put off from entering the profession because of family background or income”.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said “The NHS treats people from every background so it’s only right that our doctors represent every section of society. In recent years we have made significant progress towards a more meritocratically selected medical workforce. But there is still more to do. I want to encourage students from every background to think about being a doctor – that’s why I’m pleased that the Medical Schools Council is getting more pupils from deprived backgrounds involved, through innovative schemes like giving opportunities to those who receive or have received free school meals.”
Professor Tony Weetman, Chair of the Medical Schools Council, said “This project represents a commitment from the UK’s medical schools and indeed the medical profession as a whole to ensure we are selecting the right people for a career as a doctor. Our common purpose is to harness existing best practice and develop new initiatives that ensure we can draw on the widest pool of talent to create excellent doctors. A medical team which can fully recognise the diversity of the population it serves will be better placed to meet the UK’s increasingly complex health needs.”