Plans to widen access to medical careers

A PLAN to encourage a more diverse range of people to train as doctors has been unveiled by Health Education England.

A number of measures have been set out in a bid to make the NHS workforce “more representative of the communities it seeks to serve” and to ensure “development and progression is based upon a person’s merit, ability and motivation and not their social background or the privilege, extent and effectiveness of their social networks.”

The report from HEE acknowledges that, despite increased efforts to improve social mobility, “deep-seated and systematic differences which can affect an individual’s potential and opportunities for enhancing social mobility remain.”

It highlights research published by the General Medical Council last year which found more than a third of trainee doctors had attended private school despite the fact only seven per cent of the general population went to such schools. And only eight per cent of trainees received free school meals compared to a quarter of the general population.

Planned measures include improved monitoring and reporting of activities designed to widen participation in medical education and training as well as more targeted careers advice.

HEE will also commission research to find out the specific needs of groups who are underrepresented in medicine, both at the application process and throughout their training. And by June 2015, the organisation plans to set up a national award to recognise excellence in widening access to medicine by healthcare organisations.

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