For students wishing to study medicine after A level or sixth form college, many new and exciting opportunities are beginning to present themselves.
Buckingham University has recently opened the first private medical school in the UK. At a time when the NHS is losing it’s qualified doctors, to Australia for example, and news reports frequently emphasize overstretching of accident and emergency wards, the private university was overwhelmed with applicants for it’s £30k a year, 5-year medical degree. They received more than 500 applications for 67 places for September 2015 entry, proof that self-funded applicants were not deterred by the price.
Buckingham was surprised by the level of interest from domestic applicants, having expected the majority to be overseas students because the fees are not dissimilar to those they would face at any other UK university. When it came to the deadline, 60% of the applicants were from the UK. When asked about the overwhelming numbers, the Chief Operating Officer, Prof John Clapham said “we have been absolutely staggered by the huge response to the course”, adding that the school is already getting double the number of applicants for the September 2016 intake.
The competition to be the first university to open a private medical school was a two horse race. Buckingham pipped the University of Central Lancashire at the post after the latters planned curriculum, staff recruitment and clinical placement numbers did not meet the approval of the General Medical Council. UCLAN were due to open their doors to medics in September 2014. Buckingham closely follows General Medical Council standards by using a curriculum licensed from the University of Leicester.
Students who successfully enrol on the medical course at Buckingham after studying at sixth form or A level college can expect to study the preclinical half of the course there and the clinical half through the Milton Keynes hospital NHS foundation trust. The Medical Director for the trust, Prof Martin Wetherill has said that bringing a medical school to Milton Keynes is just the beginning of what they hope will become a world-class teaching hospital.
Even with the overwhelming response to Buckingham’s medical programme and a growing interest in medicine across the board, it is clear that the prospect of becoming a GP is much less attractive than it was. More and more of the students who enter medical school are thinking of specializing from the outset (eg surgery, oncology). The Royal College of GPs has estimated that the NHS could be 16,000 GPs short by 2021. So perhaps the next focus should be on making general practice more attractive for budding medical professionals.
Source: The Guardian