Scotland

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Disadvantaged students offered lifeline

Mita Dhullipala 16x
medical student
DHULLIPALA: ‘Widening participation to medicine is extremely important‘

A course that gives an opportunity to study medicine to applicants from disadvantaged or remote or rural areas has accepted its first students.

G2M (Gateway2Medicine), a joint initiative between the University of Aberdeen and North East Scotland College, gives promising students who might have faced barriers applying for medical school the experience and qualifications they need.

Those who pass the year-long course, and who meet UKCAT and interview standards, will be admitted to the University of Aberdeen to study medicine.

Students who meet the academic criteria (less stringent than usual qualifications to study medicine) and who live in an area of multiple deprivation (as defined by the Scottish Government) will be eligible to apply, as will those who have been in care.

Students who meet three other criteria from a determined list will also be able to apply; this includes those who live in very remote or rural locations, in recognition of the additional challenges they face in engaging with medical schools, and because of the dispersal of deprivation in rural areas which makes it difficult to compare with poverty in urban areas.

BMA Scottish medical students committee chair Mita Dhullipala welcomed the move. ‘Widening participation to medicine is extremely important – the public deserves compassionate and skilled medical professionals from every walk of life.

We welcome this new scheme and hope that more such schemes can be created to give a greater number of students the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine.

‘A medical workforce which represents the population it serves will ultimately result in a better healthcare service for all our patients. Becoming a doctor should be about your ability and not your ability to pay.’

A disproportionately low number of students from less advantaged backgrounds study medicine in Scotland and the commission for widening access has set a target that by 2030 students from the 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds should represent 20 per cent of entrants to higher education.

Steve Heys, head of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, said it was a fantastic opportunity for young people who might not otherwise have thought of pursuing a career in medicine.

‘We believe widening participation in medicine is key, both to address inequality for those from social and geographically disadvantaged situations and to create a diverse environment that benefits all our students and medical practice in Scotland.’

Places are still available for the course, which starts in August, and the full entrance criteria can be found on the G2M website.

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