22 April 2011
Dear Dr Grumble,
I’m writing to you to raise awareness of an issue that is affecting not only myself, but thousands of prospective medical students across the UK.
Currently, if you are a graduate you are not eligible to apply for a student loan to cover course fees for a degree in medicine (or any other degree). With the sudden increase in tuition fees, graduates are now paying £9000 for year-one of the four-year, graduate entry, medicine course, instead of £3600, (an increase of 150%) without access to a loan. There is also a massive chance that the NHS funding for years 2-4 and year 5 of the five-year undergraduate medicine course is either going to be removed or reduced.
Whilst I can see an argument for not funding course fees for graduates (as we’ve already done one degree), by not allowing us access to student loans, so we can borrow the money and pay it back once we graduate, the government are, in effect, blocking us from continuing our education and becoming doctors. If the government go along with this plan of action then graduate medical programmes may either close down all together, or (which is more probable), end up being for the rich only.
I am a 31 year old, arts graduate, who has worked in education for the past ten years. I would very much like the opportunity to study for a degree in medicine and believe that my life and work experiences will make me a good doctor. I have research skills, developed through previous study and work experience and I have got the relevant health care experience required for medical school entry.
If the NHS funding is removed, the price of a graduate medical degree will have gone from £3600, to £36,000, a 900% increase, in the space of one year. We won’t have access to a loan, from the Student Loans Company or from a bank, as all careers loans have been removed.
Graduates bring to the table both, professional and life experience, research skills, passion and most of all, a drive to succeed. We are more likely to finish the course and we have made an informed, adult decision, to return to education and pursue a career in medicine. To be penalised and blocked from returning to education is backwards thinking and in my opinion, discriminatory. We should have access to bursaries or at the least, a repayable loan.
I’m not looking for sympathy, because that won’t help me. I just want to raise the issue and most of all, I want to study medicine.
If you would like to read other graduates' thoughts on this matter, you can here. Thanks for your time.