Medical intake still dominated by upper class

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for action from the
profession to ensure the mix of people in medicine is more reflective of the

A new BMA report, The Demography of Medical Schools, reveals marked
differences in medical school acceptance rates between ethnic groups and social
classes, and calls for action to ensure that no discrimination is taking place.

Dr Peter Dangerfield, chairman of the BMA’s Board of Medical Education,
said: "The NHS needs doctors who can relate to all their patients, but at
the moment, the profession is far from being representative of the public it

"Medical schools need to guard against any kind of discrimination –
intentional or otherwise."

Key findings of The Demography of Medical Schools

– Six in 10 (59 per cent) medical school applicants come from
the highest social classes (families where the main source of income is a
professional or managerial job, such as law or accountancy)

– In recent years, applicants from these groups were twice as
likely to be accepted as those from working-class backgrounds

– Medicine attracts a higher proportion of ethnic minority
students than other courses, but acceptance rates vary between ethnic groups

– Seventy-three per cent of medical school applications from
white and Asian students are successful, compared with 39 per cent for students
from black African backgrounds

– In 2003, more than one in five students (21 per cent)
accepted into medical school were over 21, compared with fewer than one in 10
(9 per cent) in 1996

– In 2003, more than three in five (61 per cent) entrants to UK
medical schools were female, compared with 29 per cent in 1963.

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