Novichok
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Hi,

This is more of a discussion as I am genuinely interested to know why medicine is so competitive and hard to get into. Surely it'd be in the governments / countries best interest to have as many doctors as possible as that can only lead to a good thing, right?

If it's a matter of there aren't enough places per applicant then why not increase places? Yes, I know it's not as easy as it sounds and I would imagine it would involve a lot of money but I can only see that being a positive return on investment especially for the government when they get more doctors every year working hard for the NHS. I have heard that it costs around £250k per med school student in order to become a doctor but I am pretty sure that money is more than made back up after working in the NHS for your life.

Also, is it not in the universities best interest to get as many students every year? I'm not into economics or politics but surely they'd be benefiting from having more students. Is it not the case of more students = more money?

Every time I think of this it does baffle me and I was just wondered if anybody on TSR has any opinions or any reasoning behind this. Surely it's not just money
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ecolier
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(Original post by Novichok)
Hi
As you'd expect it's been asked and answered plenty of times before.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6230574
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5069044
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=1956151
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...d.php?t=650479

But I will address your post point by point.

This is more of a discussion as I am genuinely interested to know why medicine is so competitive and hard to get into. Surely it'd be in the governments / countries best interest to have as many doctors as possible as that can only lead to a good thing, right?
No. Because for most countries, healthcare is private so it would make no sense for the government to sponsor more doctors. Studying medicine is expensive and a lot of countries subsidise their universities to make students doctors.

In the UK this is more acute. Each medical student is subsidised £163,000 to make it through medical school and become an FY1 doctor. However, this is not the main cost - it's training said doctors after they have graduated.

We simply don't have to capacity to suddenly employ 10,000 or 14,000 FY1 doctors instead of the current 7,000 - 8,000 FY1s. Nor do we have enough spaces to enroll these doctors into specialty training after 2 years.

Yes there are lots of vacancies in GP, psychiatry and A&E but more FY1 doctors =/= more (proportionally) will get into these specialties. It will most likely make existing competitive specialties even more competitive.

If it's a matter of there aren't enough places per applicant then why not increase places? Yes, I know it's not as easy as it sounds and I would imagine it would involve a lot of money but I can only see that being a positive return on investment especially for the government when they get more doctors every year working hard for the NHS. I have heard that it costs around £250k per med school student in order to become a doctor but I am pretty sure that money is more than made back up after working in the NHS for your life.
I have already answered this above.

Also, is it not in the universities best interest to get as many students every year? I'm not into economics or politics but surely they'd be benefiting from having more students. Is it not the case of more students = more money?
It probably is, but Medicine (and Dentistry) is different to every other course.

If it's a majority lecture-based course your argument is correct. You can just squeeze more people and that's fine, open the lecture theatre next door and live stream the lecture - that's ok.

But our course involved going to hospitals, going to the GPs. We can't just magic these people out of thin air, nor can we suddenly have more wards and patients for these students to take history / examine.

We can't just let everyone in, it doesn't work like that - it's unfair on students (and the patients) if, instead of 5 students to 1 patient (to practise history taking), it's now 10 students to 1 patient.

Equally, having 4 students in one clinic room to observe a consultation isn't ideal (believe me, I tried).

Every time I think of this it does baffle me and I was just wondered if anybody on TSR has any opinions or any reasoning behind this. Surely it's not just money
But it is just money... and I have only talked about the uni's side and not the motivation to study on the students' side. COVID-19 has made it much more appealing to study medicine, it seems.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Novichok)
Hi,

This is more of a discussion as I am genuinely interested to know why medicine is so competitive and hard to get into. Surely it'd be in the governments / countries best interest to have as many doctors as possible as that can only lead to a good thing, right?

If it's a matter of there aren't enough places per applicant then why not increase places? Yes, I know it's not as easy as it sounds and I would imagine it would involve a lot of money but I can only see that being a positive return on investment especially for the government when they get more doctors every year working hard for the NHS. I have heard that it costs around £250k per med school student in order to become a doctor but I am pretty sure that money is more than made back up after working in the NHS for your life.

Also, is it not in the universities best interest to get as many students every year? I'm not into economics or politics but surely they'd be benefiting from having more students. Is it not the case of more students = more money?

Every time I think of this it does baffle me and I was just wondered if anybody on TSR has any opinions or any reasoning behind this. Surely it's not just money
The NHS controls how many medical places there are in the UK.

We are short of doctors, so several new medical schools have been set up for this purpose.

A lot of highly intelligent people who are good at science and want to help others apply for medicine and even then many do not get a place. It's a case of supply and demand and medicine remains, and probably always will be, one of the most popular and oversubscribed courses in the UK.
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tinygirl96
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Prepare for a really lengthy response. In a PICU at a hospital for kiddos, nurses are expected to demonstrate a number of abilities and skills in order to help those very sick babies go home eventually. Critical care medicine is fast paced and full of emergency situations which happen daily. Resources are needed to help to boost baby survival rates, this includes skills. A growth mindset is mandatory. It goes beyond any question. In other words no doubt about it.
Teamwork is vital to save little lives along with strongly tuned up communication skills for example. You also need to show you have empathy and compassion as well at all times whilst working on the paediatric intensive care floor or unit to prevent death. Same applies to the neonatal intensive care unit in addition. A variety of skills and qualities are required to literally save babies from death sometimes in case. This is why medicine is fast paced and hard work.
But so worth it generally. When you reassure a anxious new mom her baby will be happy it lights up your day really. And when you are able to use your medical training to stop death claiming a terribly ill infant there are no words that can accurately aim to describe how most parents will feel about you. I hope this is useful.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by tinygirl96)
Prepare for a really lengthy response. In a PICU at a hospital for kiddos, nurses are expected to demonstrate a number of abilities and skills in order to help those very sick babies go home eventually. Critical care medicine is fast paced and full of emergency situations which happen daily. Resources are needed to help to boost baby survival rates, this includes skills. A growth mindset is mandatory. It goes beyond any question. In other words no doubt about it.
Teamwork is vital to save little lives along with strongly tuned up communication skills for example. You also need to show you have empathy and compassion as well at all times whilst working on the paediatric intensive care floor or unit to prevent death. Same applies to the neonatal intensive care unit in addition. A variety of skills and qualities are required to literally save babies from death sometimes in case. This is why medicine is fast paced and hard work.
But so worth it generally. When you reassure a anxious new mom her baby will be happy it lights up your day really. And when you are able to use your medical training to stop death claiming a terribly ill infant there are no words that can accurately aim to describe how most parents will feel about you. I hope this is useful.
Top post. Not everyone can have the qualities you possess, which is why it is hard to get into, and stay in, medicine.
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Mesopotamian.
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(Original post by ecolier)
As you'd expect it's been asked and answered plenty of times before.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6230574
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5069044
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=1956151
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...d.php?t=650479

But I will address your post point by point.



No. Because for most countries, healthcare is private so it would make no sense for the government to sponsor more doctors. Studying medicine is expensive and a lot of countries subsidise their universities to make students doctors.

In the UK this is more acute. Each medical student is subsidised £163,000 to make it through medical school and become an FY1 doctor. However, this is not the main cost - it's training said doctors after they have graduated.

We simply don't have to capacity to suddenly employ 10,000 or 14,000 FY1 doctors instead of the current 7,000 - 8,000 FY1s. Nor do we have enough spaces to enroll these doctors into specialty training after 2 years.

Yes there are lots of vacancies in GP, psychiatry and A&E but more FY1 doctors =/= more (proportionally) will get into these specialties. It will most likely make existing competitive specialties even more competitive.



I have already answered this above.



It probably is, but Medicine (and Dentistry) is different to every other course.

If it's a majority lecture-based course your argument is correct. You can just squeeze more people and that's fine, open the lecture theatre next door and live stream the lecture - that's ok.

But our course involved going to hospitals, going to the GPs. We can't just magic these people out of thin air, nor can we suddenly have more wards and patients for these students to take history / examine.

We can't just let everyone in, it doesn't work like that - it's unfair on students (and the patients) if, instead of 5 students to 1 patient (to practise history taking), it's now 10 students to 1 patient.

Equally, having 4 students in one clinic room to observe a consultation isn't ideal (believe me, I tried).



But it is just money... and I have only talked about the uni's side and not the motivation to study on the students' side. COVID-19 has made it much more appealing to study medicine, it seems.
PRSOM

To add to everything above, medicine is a demanding course and requires every student to have a certain set of qualities (ideally) in addition to being studious and having the ability to survive 5/6 years of strenuous hard work (let’s not even start on the post-grad exams). Therefore, it’s also about choosing the right person to become a doctor (which I’ll admit isn’t perfect at the moment, and that goes for dentistry too) - not everyone is able to fulfil the checklist of qualities required to be a doctor.
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Moonlight rain
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Everyone wants to be a doctor. I mean most children you ask they say they wanna be a doctor
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ecolier
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
PRSOM

To add to everything above, medicine is a demanding course and requires every student to have a certain set of qualities (ideally) in addition to being studious and having the ability to survive 5/6 years of strenuous hard work. Therefore, it’s also about choosing the right person to become a doctor (which I’ll admit isn’t perfect at the moment, and that goes for dentistry too) - not everyone is able to fulfil the checklist of qualities required to be a doctor.
:ta:

Luckily for us, there are plenty of people who meet that criteria for us to choose from.

(Original post by Moonlight rain)
Everyone wants to be a doctor. I mean most children you ask they say they wanna be a doctor
:rofl: and especially neurosurgeons!
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Novichok
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
Therefore, it’s also about choosing the right person to become a doctor (which I’ll admit isn’t perfect at the moment, and that goes for dentistry too) - not everyone is able to fulfil the checklist of qualities required to be a doctor.
The issue that I have with the system is that there are plenty of perfect applicants with perfect grades and attributes needed to be a good doctor. But due to [insert issues] there isn't enough places for them. I'd imagine that every year there are hundreds of students that would of made good doctors but didn't even make it to the interview stage. As a result, they take their 5th choice of biomed and regret it 3 years later.

I feel like there really isn't any good way (before interview) to determine who would make a good doctor and who would make a bad doctor. For Newcastle if you get a very high UCAT and predicted AAA in whatever subject you're almost guaranteed an interview. I've not taken the UCAT and I won't be taking it for a few years yet but from my very brief research I don't see how that alone can prove if somebody is capable or not.
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*****deadness
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(Original post by ecolier)
:ta:

Luckily for us, there are plenty of people who meet that criteria for us to choose from.



:rofl: and especially neurosurgeons!
I don't really get what you said about the high vacancies not meaning there should be more med students. And since so many people apply, as you said there are many to choose from, and many will check all the boxes and still get rejected because of places. I agree given the number of places they have to turn a lot down, but if they did increase the places they wouldn't have to select candidates with rubbish criteria like GCSE grades or ethical debates.

Also then why is the grade requirement for medicine not as immediately high than other subjects? Even for like oxford the requirement is A*AA, even lower than A*A*A for chemistry, but they have a notoriously high bar for GCSE grades, like 10. Why the random skew towards GCSEs instead of A levels, for one thing?
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ecolier
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(Original post by *****deadness)
...but if they did increase the places they wouldn't have to select candidates with rubbish criteria like GCSE grades or ethical debates.
Yes but what did I say about "we can't afford to hire more FY1 doctors"?

And also what I said about "there isn't enough capacity to train these students"?

Training doctors is a self-fulfilling prophecy - you need more doctors to train more doctors. If you don't have enough in the first place, you can't suddenly get more people to train medical students.

Also then why is the grade requirement for medicine not as immediately high than other subjects? Even for like oxford the requirement is A*AA, even lower than A*A*A for chemistry, but they have a notoriously high bar for GCSE grades, like 10. Why the random skew towards GCSEs instead of A levels, for one thing?
Because grades aren't everything and good grades = good doctor.

Just look at the senior doctors who entered med schools in the 1970s, 1980s. The grade requirement then was a bare CCC or something.

There are plenty of other (perhaps more valid) ways of assessment, like MMIs and admission tests.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Novichok)
...I feel like there really isn't any good way (before interview) to determine who would make a good doctor and who would make a bad doctor...
Should we do it the European way?

Let everyone in, then fail (virtually) everyone before finals?

You would then be able to properly "prove yourself".

But med school is free / very cheap over there so I suppose it works.
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Mesopotamian.
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(Original post by Novichok)
The issue that I have with the system is that there are plenty of perfect applicants with perfect grades and attributes needed to be a good doctor. But due to [insert issues] there isn't enough places for them. I'd imagine that every year there are hundreds of students that would of made good doctors but didn't even make it to the interview stage. As a result, they take their 5th choice of biomed and regret it 3 years later.

I feel like there really isn't any good way (before interview) to determine who would make a good doctor and who would make a bad doctor. For Newcastle if you get a very high UCAT and predicted AAA in whatever subject you're almost guaranteed an interview. I've not taken the UCAT and I won't be taking it for a few years yet but from my very brief research I don't see how that alone can prove if somebody is capable or not.
I 100% agree with you and this is something I’ve complained about before. I’m studying dentistry and I can tell you that some students are lovely people and will make fantastic healthcare professionals in the future but there are some students who...well let’s put it this way, I feel sorry for their patients.

The UCAT - and even the interviews really - aren’t always good enough at differentiating the genuine students from the less-than-genuine students, but then the question is, what is a good method? Will any method, interview, exam, test etc ever be 100% accurate?
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Novichok
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In an ideal world, if there is nothing that can be done to make more places per applicant then there should be more ways to determine who is the ideal student. I suppose more entrance exams could be done or higher proportion of interviews and make that the bottleneck. There are some schools like Cardiff where getting all 9's at GCSE is used to determine if you are going to be a good doctor. I think that's incredibly unfair and I am glad that there aren't many universities that think that the top grades translates into top doctors as there is more to it than that. Although, I am probably a bit biased considering I am resitting GCSE's.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
...but then the question is, what is a good method? Will any method, interview, exam, test etc ever be able to be 100% accurate?
The European way...! Read my post above.

(Original post by Novichok)
...
The med schools that have the lower offers (e.g. KMMS) or do not require admission tests (e.g. UCLan) are usually the most competitive.

The GMC has asked for admission tests / interviews to be made more important in the future, over and above personal statements.
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2500_2
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(Original post by Novichok)
I feel like there really isn't any good way (before interview) to determine who would make a good doctor and who would make a bad doctor. For Newcastle if you get a very high UCAT and predicted AAA in whatever subject you're almost guaranteed an interview. I've not taken the UCAT and I won't be taking it for a few years yet but from my very brief research I don't see how that alone can prove if somebody is capable or not.
Essentially they want smart people and there's a variety of things that can give you a short list of smart people - each uni has its various preferences to weed out those who aren't strong enough/diverse enough candidates. Then you decide who has the most potential at interview.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Moonlight rain)
Everyone wants to be a doctor. I mean most children you ask they say they wanna be a doctor
But most will not get in. It looks very heroic, but the amount of work it takes is daunting.
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looloo2134
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
The NHS controls how many medical places there are in the UK.

We are short of doctors, so several new medical schools have been set up for this purpose.

A lot of highly intelligent people who are good at science and want to help others apply for medicine and even then many do not get a place. It's a case of supply and demand and medicine remains, and probably always will be, one of the most popular and oversubscribed courses in the UK.
Cuba a second world country train more doctors per head of population than any other country. It does not have any private schools or private tutors it has classes with 12 children per teacher it has free higher education.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Cuba
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Novichok
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(Original post by ecolier)
The med schools that have the lower offers (e.g. KMMS) or do not require admission tests (e.g. UCLan) are usually the most competitive.

The GMC has asked for admission tests / interviews to be made more important in the future, over and above personal statements.
When it comes to the UCAT, asides from the SJT test I don't see how that can determine who is going to be a good doctor. You're going into medical school for 5 maybe 6 years whereas you're going to be a doctor for up to 60 years. Although there is a great amount of work that is required at medical school I think that admission tests and interviews should be primarily focused on what happens after medical (the bigger picture)
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Moonlight rain
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(Original post by ecolier)
:rofl: and especially neurosurgeons!
Omg yes!!! All my cousins want to be neurosurgeons
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