Private schools prompt GMC training fears
5 February 2013
The GMC has expressed concerns about whether private medical schools could impact on the ability of medical students to practise as doctors.
Recently released minutes from a meeting of the regulator’s undergraduate board raise the issue of how these schools could affect the ability of new graduates to gain foundation programme posts.
Medical students need to complete the first year of the foundation programme to gain full GMC registration, which allows them to practise as doctors, but there have been more applicants than posts for the past three years.
Although all students have so far eventually been placed, the BMA fears that some graduates could one day be left unemployed and that new medical schools could make this situation worse.
BMA medical students committee joint deputy chair Melody Redman said: ‘We strongly believe that eligible students who have invested so much in their education should be guaranteed foundation year one posts.’
She added: ‘With additional applicants coming from private medical schools, we have serious concerns [about this].’
The GMC undergraduate board minutes from April echo these concerns, and state: ‘During discussion, it was suggested that the establishment of private medical schools could potentially result in an oversubscription to [foundation year 1].
‘The board noted that students who had entered their first year of training had a reasonable expectation that a medical degree would lead to registration with the GMC and that any deviation from this long-held assumption would need to be explicitly stated by the government.’
GMC undergraduate board chair Jim McKillop agreed to write to the co-chairs of the Health and Education National Strategic Exchange Project review of medical and dental school intakes in England, to highlight the need to take account of the potential impact of private schools.
But although the recently published review notes the need to take into account the development of private medical schools in its terms of reference, these are not explicitly mentioned within the main report.
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