Should We Be Concerned As Less People Apply For University Medical Courses?
Recent figures have shown that throughout 2013, fewer people than ever before applied to attend medical school in the UK. Nursing applications were down by 6% and fewer than 4,000 people applied to courses aimed at training the next generation of doctors. That’s around 2,000 fewer than applied during the 2012 period. Does this mean the NHS and private healthcare providers will struggle in the near future? Will there be a worrying shortage of trained medical staff? Let’s take a look at the facts and see if we can come to some kind of conclusion because the articles being released from within the mainstream media at the moment seem to be scaremongering. After all, that is what they’re good at, right?
So, it seems the newspapers and news channels have been omitting one, very important piece of information that could completely change the way in which the general public perceive this situation. They fail to mention that there are currently only 3,000 places at medical schools around the UK for doctor’s degree courses anyway. This means there are still more than 1,000 people who applied and were turned down. Is this really a shortage? If the application numbers were to dip below 3,000, the reporters might have an argument. However, they do not.
We got in touch with a leading spokesperson for the largest medical school in the UK, and he told us…
“Yet again the media are trying to whip up a storm surrounding the recently released figures that show a decline in applications. As we all know, this is nothing to be concerned about, and it will not affect the level of care given by NHS providers or the private sector. You have to remember that students are given lots of advice before applying for courses of this nature, and so the drop in interest could be down to teachers and lecturers over-stressing how hard it can be to score a place. While we’re still getting 1,000 more applicants that we’re able to train, this is of little concern, and people would do better to take a look at what their government is doing in Syria and Ukraine at the moment. That’s where the real news is to be found; this is just a distraction.”
A lengthy and informative statement I’m sure you’ll agree, but still we must wonder why newspaper editors are focusing on this story so consistently. Are they trying to divert attention away from something more shocking? The spokesperson we chatted with obviously thought so. Indeed, the number of people applying for degree courses that would allow them to work for a reputable microbiology research organisation has almost doubled.
At the end of the day, so long as we have more applicants than places, nobody need to worry. And even if they dropped to unmanageable levels; one press release explaining that would incite thousands of keen, wannabe medical students from all over the UK to suddenly show their faces.
Even if the levels dropped to a point where people would be wise to become concerned, there are plenty of foreign students knocking on the door every single year, so the field of medical care would continue.
In conclusion, this situation, and the debate it has caused, seems to have been manufactured by those in power to distract us from something more serious. Whether that is the ongoing foreign situation or whether it relates to further changes within the healthcare system is yet unclear.