Letters, calls and emails: Student debts a bad start to a new career

Dear Editor

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


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