Author: Houston. M, Lumsden. M.A. and Osborne. M Publication Year: 2012
Summary: Pupils from backgrounds of socio-economic deprivation are less likely to apply to study medicine than those from more affluent backgrounds. This study investigates if those with potential can be identified &exposed to awareness raising activities enhancing their likelihood of success in this field.
Description: There is a well established relationship between educational achievement and socio-economic status (SES).(1,2) It has even been suggested that knowing about a child’s socio-economic background allows relatively accurate predictions of their likely future academic attainment.(3) In particular applications to, and acceptances for, professional courses such as medicine reflect a class-based bias favouring middle class candidates.(4) However, this is not a recent phenomenon and efforts to address the balance have been made.(5) Entry to study medicine in the UK is highly selective and competitive. Even now there are relatively fewer applicants to university courses as a whole and particularly medicine and dentistry from the lower socio-economic groups 4 – 7 and more applicants from group 1. UCAS data demonstrates that this trend is also apparent in those accepting their offers It appears that those from higher socio-economic groups have a greater likelihood of success than those from lower socio-economic groups (6). Recognition of this has led many universities to embark on projects aimed at encouraging applications from under-represented groups. The principle underpinning these projects is that ‘the social profile of NHS staff (should) more closely reflect the social composition of the wider society from which it is drawn and to whom it provides services, thus providing a better experience for patients and their carers,’(5). In addition there is the fear that able individuals from more deprived backgrounds are being denied the opportunity of studying medicine. However, it would appear that they have made little impact on the social profile of medical students.
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