23rd September 2015

UCLAN exclude UK students from medicine degree

Government limits on the amount of UK students able to take a medicine degree has meant that the University of Central Lancashire has had to exclude home students altogether

A medicine degree course at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), has been made available only to overseas students.

The medicine course costs £36,500 per year and a total of £182,500 over the five years. The university announced it was unable to admit UK students due to government’s limits on places to study medicine.

38 overseas students are in the initial intake, while students from the UK or anywhere in the EU are unable to apply.

Deborah Streatfield told the BBC “this does absolutely nothing to help young students from disadvantaged backgrounds who struggle to access medical courses and then face five years of fees and tuition loans. These students would love to work and give back to the NHS if given a chance.”

A spokesperson from UCLAN has said that while they would like to admit UK students, the government limit set on medicine places for UK students prevented them.

Student number controls for 2015/16 entry was lifted for most degree courses, but is left in place for medicine. This restriction has been left as medicine degrees, part funded by the NHS, cost more than the £9,000 limit on fees in England.

Cathy Jackson, head of UCLAN’s medical school said “we are very much not an elitist organization… these international students self-fund their course in the same way as international students do at every other medical school in the UK. Unlike other schools however, we don’t yet have any home students.”

Jackson confirmed that if there was an increase in the number of UK medical students permitted “we will certainly be making a bid for those increased numbers.”

A Department of Health spokesperson told the BBC that they “fund student places for doctors based on the numbers the NHS tell us it will need in the future to ensure we get value for money for the taxpayer and we are committed to deliver an estimated 5,000 more doctors in general practice by 2020.”

This all comes after research from the Medical Schools Council released in December showed half of UK schools and colleges had not provided a single medicine candidate in recent years, leading to concerns that universities are not doing enough to recruit students from a range of backgrounds.

The report released in 2014, examining the issue of widening participation into medicine, found that 80 per cent of all medical students came from just 20 per cent of schools.

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