The SMSC has delegated authority to act on issues relevant to medical students in Scotland. We represent and campaign on behalf of our constituents on a variety of issues, including education, finance and welfare.
We report to BMA Scottish Council and we are also empowered to report to the Medical Students Committee (MSC). The SMSC and MSC work closely together on behalf of medical students across the UK.
Our current priorities
Mental health support
The pressurised situations and responsibilities that medical students will experience while studying can be uniquely stressful and in some cases can contribute to mental health problems. It is essential that medical students are well-supported during their time at university and that assistance and advice are readily available.
SMSC believes that improving services that provide support to medical students and ensuring that they are signposted more effectively should be key priorities for all medical schools.
As part of our work to secure improvements to these services, we surveyed medical students across all of Scotland’s medical schools, seeking to learn more about their experiences of the support that is available to help with their mental health.
Read a summary of the survey’s findings.
The responses to this survey provided important reflections on individual students’ personal experiences and using these responses, we will seek to work with Scotland’s medical schools to find ways in which improvements can be made to the support that medical students receive.
The BMA also provides confidential support and counselling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Find out more about the services that the BMA offers.
The SMSC chair recently wrote a blog about the impact of mental health issues on medical students.
Read the blog.
It’s important that students are aware of the financial support available to them. SMSC have published a finance guide which is updated annually to help medical students in Scotland feel informed about the loans, grants and bursaries available to them. This year SMSC has extended the medical student finance guide to include financial resources for postgraduate students, please find the updated guide below.
Guide to medical student finance - Scotland
SMSC continues to push for clarity of all student expenses (eg understanding the cost of placements and being fully informed of reimbursement policies) and transparency of funding, eg how the additional cost of teaching (ACT) levies are spent. It’s essential that students fully understand the costs they’re expected to pay to support their degree, and how these monies are used.
SMSC believes that students from all backgrounds should have access to study medicine, and supports the implementation of the recommendations made by the Commission on Widening Access’ (CoWA) final report: A Blueprint for Fairness.
While the committee supports the work of the Scottish Government and the universities to implement initiatives to reach more students from diverse backgrounds, the committee continues to push for more to be done. We’re also planning to hold an event for secondary school pupils to meet with medical students and doctors in Scotland to understand more about the opportunities available and the paths to get there.
Read more about the BMA’s work on widening access to medicine
The committee has representatives from all five medical schools in Scotland as well as representation from other BMA committees, eg Scottish Council, UK MSC and the Scottish Medical Academic and Staff Committee (SMASC).
The chair and deputy chair are elected annually at the first SMSC meeting of the session (usually held in September).
For the 2018/19 session the office bearers are:
• SMSC Co-chairs: David Clayton and Cory Stratton
• SMSC deputy chair:Rowan Vincent
SMSC meets four times a year to discuss the latest issues impacting medical students in Scotland and to take forward BMA policy.
These meetings are open to the elected members of SMSC. SMSC also welcomes visitors to the committee.
Find out more about our committee visitors scheme.
Dates for the 2018-19 session are:
• Thursday 13 December 2018
• Saturday 9 March 2019
• Wednesday 22 May 2019
Where we meet
14 Queen Street
For more information please email [email protected] or call 0131 247 3003.