Medical profession called to ensure diversity

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

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.

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

schools need to guard against any kind of discrimination – intentional or

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 (21per 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

By Daniel Thomas

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