Home > News and blog > Response to planned medical school places increase

Response to planned medical school places increase

Universities UK responded today to plans outlined by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to increase the number of medical school places in England. Under the plans, the number of medical school places will increase by 25% from 2018.

Professor Steve West, Chair of Universities UK's Health Education and Research Policy Network, said: 'Universities want to be part of the solution to health workforce shortages. But such a rapid expansion of medical student numbers needs additional funding for teaching, and attention to the issue of high placement costs.

'In the immediate term, reallocating funds from international students [currently capped at 7.5% of the domestic intake] will not address the funding gap and may, unless high placement costs are addressed, put British medical education at a competitive disadvantage, impacting its global reputation, sustainability and quality.'

In England, medical Service Increment for Teaching (SIFT) - payable to NHS organisations for placements - is currently set at approximately £35,000 per year. The Scottish equivalent, the Additional Cost of Teaching (ACT), is £17,000 per year; this is discounted to £10,000 per year for international students.

Professor West added: 'It takes 10 years to train a GP, 14 years to train a surgeon. Growing our own doctors and other healthcare professionals needs sustained investment over several political cycles, certainly beyond the negotiation of Brexit.

'More importantly, we require a system-wide approach that aligns education to changing services, that accounts for rapid advances in diagnostics and technology and that challenges current models. Training more of the same to stop gaps is no longer enough.'

Key Contacts

Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Blog

Supporting care experienced students through university

8 October 2019
UUK's Amy Dicks sets out what universities can do to address the challenges care experienced people face when accessing and completing an undergraduate degree.

Higher education policy priorities for the new prime minister

31 July 2019
UUK's Karmjit Kaur on how new Prime Minister Boris Johnson can can help maximise the role of universities for both his domestic and global ambitions.

News

New advice for universities and students on dangers of initiations

23 September 2019
​Universities UK (UUK), in collaboration with Newcastle University, has today launched a briefing, Initiations at UK universities, to raise awareness of the dangers of initiations and excessive alcohol consumption among students.

Thousands more should be able to do Degree Apprenticeships

15 July 2019
Bold action is needed from government to reform the degree apprenticeship system so many more people can become degree apprentices, according to a major report published today by Universities UK.