Top-up fees could send doctors’ debts soaring

Top-up
fees could mean debts as high as £64,000 for medical students, according to new
research by the British Medical Association (BMA).

This
is 44 per cent higher than the estimated debt under the current funding system
and three times the basic salary of a first-year junior doctor.

The
figures are based on data published by the Government, the Student Loans
Company, and the BMA’s own research.

Daniel
Gibbons, deputy chairman of the Medical Students Committee, carried out the
research and said debts of this level would put potential doctors off.

"The
Government’s measures to help the poorest students seem to be aimed at
undergraduates on three year courses, and fail to take into account the fact
that medical students study for an extra two or three years," he said.

Gibbons
added that doctors face extra costs for travel and equipment, and have fewer
opportunities to supplement their income through paid work.

By Michael Millar

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