Louise McMenemy, the BMA Medical Student Committee lead said: ‘We are concerned about the obstacles that lie in the path of many pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds who want to study medicine’.
The BMA also believes that universities should publish their strategies of how they intend to widen participation.
‘It is important for the NHS, students and society that we have a medical workforce that is based on talent and merit, not on the ability to pay,’ she added.
The BMA’s comments follow the publication of the Public Accounts Committee’s report into widening participation in higher education.
However, Ms McMenemy does not believe the report emphasises strongly enough the ‘burden’ placed on pupils from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. The current economic climate makes matters even worse, the BMA adds.
Dr Justin Varney, co-chairman of the BMA’s equal opportunities committee, said: ‘There has been improvement for both women and ethnic minorities looking to enter medicine. The issue of holding back less well-off pupils now needs to be addressed.’
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