Stress, anxiety and concern…
Ah the joys of medical school admission! However, this year may be a bit unique.
There is just one hurdle between you and your dream profession: admission! The application process to medicine can seem gruelling and uber-competitive – in many ways, it is. A level of continued optimism and hope is required; and it may just be rewarded this year.
2018: The Unique Year
This application cycle opens up a wealth of opportunity for entry into medical school. There will be four new medical schools opening and their first intake will commence this year. These new-era medical schools are part of the government’s plan to create a more self-sufficient NHS and address the shortage of doctors. The new medical schools include Aston Medical School, Anglia Ruskin University. Whilst Ulster University and University of St Andrews will be offering a new GEM programme.
Located in Birmingham, Aston university aims to increase diversity within the medical profession; something which is clearly lacking in the current climate. Around 80% of places are for international students and 20% will be reserved for home students from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’.
Being the first medical school in Essex, Anglia Ruskin will offer a completely novel experience and a unique perspective on healthcare in the region. Around 50% of students will be from the local area.
This will be the second medical school of Northern Ireland. The aim is to address the shortage of doctors in Northern Ireland and the medical school will be accepting degrees from a wide array of disciplines.
Currently offering medical education to undergraduates, University of St Andrews will also start a GEM programme. This will be a partnership between the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee.
Benefits of the New Medical School
The most obvious benefit is the increase in medical school places. We’ve all heard the daunting figure of 10 applicants for every medical school place, the joint effort of these 4 new medical schools are the 1500 extra places being offered; easing the burden of applicant to place ratios.
Diversity is also on the agenda; the modern medical schools are trying to increase diversity by accepting those from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’. This drive to standardise medicine and further prevent nepotism is key.
The Potential Consequences
Nothing is without drawbacks and this scheme is no different. The opening of new, modern medical schools may seem like an exciting prospect, but they are still subject to GMC accreditation which will only occur after the first cohort qualifies. This can be 4 or 5 years, depending on whether it is GEM or Undergraduate. Historically, it is exceedingly rare for accreditation to be rejected but it is something to be aware of.
Many of these new medical schools will have curriculums that are embedded in primary care. This may be a benefit or drawback depending on your future aspirations. Though, it won’t be a major hindrance in choosing specialties.
Wider implications of this government proposal are that it won’t be a solution to the shortage of doctors. An issue that will become apparent later on in your careers.
The new scheme of offering more places to students wanting to study medicine at new medical schools is exciting and novel. And as an applicant, it is an exciting and optimistic time. Even though there are potential drawbacks. The bad news is… admission to medical school will still be incredibly stressful and worrisome, but applicants now have more options than ever.