I have been watching the correspondence regarding med-student debt closely. On leaving medical school over five years ago, I was lumbered with around £23,500 of debt. Despite good parental support, I had an overdraft, student loans, a study loan and a credit card.
The logistics of being so ‘in the red’ at the start of one’s career are becoming apparent, especially with first-time buyers struggling to secure mortgages and start loan repayments.
Tuition fees and top-up fees already provide another of the government’s ‘stealth taxes’ — these alone can be five-figures.
It has previously been suggested that senior student doctors could receive a nominal wage for phlebotomy or clerk duties, however the medico-legal ramifications of this make it unlikely.
In other careers — social work and nursing included — a newly-qualified graduate can expect a tax-free, non-repayable bursary. I would welcome this for new doctors, especially now that two foundation years must be completed before achieving the more lucrative echelons of the SHO pay scale.
Dr Barney Tinsley