Medical students would be willing to commit themselves to the NHS in return for having some of their loans paid off.
The ‘forgivable loans’ scheme, proposed by the British Medical Association (BMA), is seen as a way of attracting a more diverse range of people into the profession, the BBC has reported.
According to the BMA, a typical medical degree costs more than £50,000, putting off potential students from poorer backgrounds.
BMA figures show the four bottom socio-economic groups account for just 13% of medical students, yet represent more than half of the UK’s population. Today’s medical students face average debts of £37,000 when they complete their studies.
Tom Foley, co-chair of the BMA’s medical students committee, said: “The thing about forgivable loans is that they create a link between the student and the NHS. We could say to somebody when they are 16 ‘become a doctor and you won’t have to worry about having a huge loan’. And we would argue that if you can keep people in the NHS as long as possible, it’s good for everybody.”