A new private medical school has confirmed it will begin accepting students next year, as fears grow over the impact of such courses.
UCLAN (the University of Central Lancashire) has announced plans to recruit 35 students to a five-year medical degree beginning in September 2014.
Students will be charged £35,000 per year, which the university says is in line with the rates paid by overseas students and independent fees, although it had previously suggested fees would be £2,500 lower.
The move follows the announcement earlier this year of a four-and-a-half year MB BS course at the private higher education institution Buckingham University, which will begin in January 2015.
UCLAN medicine and dentistry school dean StJohn Crean (pictured above) said: ‘Our market research has highlighted there is demand from overseas students to study medicine at a UK university and our course is aimed predominately at those who have a lack of opportunities in their own country.’
Threat to jobs
But BMA medical students committee joint deputy chair Samantha Dolan said these private medical courses would be as able to recruit students from the UK as from abroad.
She argued: ‘The course will add pressure to an already oversubscribed foundation programme and will make it more difficult for other medical students to get jobs.
‘A government-commissioned review last year advised a 2 per cent cut in medical school intakes from this year. These two private schools will add 100 students next year alone and may have plans to grow further, which could seriously affect attempts to match medical student numbers to future NHS workforce demands.’
BMA council chair Mark Porter has written to the Medical Schools Council asking to join their meeting at which workforce planning and private medical schools will be discussed.
The BMA is also asking Health Education England what it is doing with respect to private medical schools.
UK medical school students need to successfully complete the first year of the foundation programme to qualify fully as doctors.
Read more about UCLAN's course
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