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Another medical school denied support for British student doctors

20 January 2023

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Another new medical school, Three Counties, based in Worcester, has been told by the Department for Health and Social Care that no British students will be supported, although it can recruit overseas students. 

As reported in Workers, the government, in a time of acute shortages of doctors, has re-imposed a cap on the number of British students it will support. Brunel and Chester have both barred their doors to students from Britain.

The Three Counties Medical School is designed to increase doctor numbers in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. At the moment, the NHS in the area spends around £70 million on locums to plug staffing gaps.

Overall the NHS in England spends £3 billion a year on locums. One trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust, is reported to have spent £4,500 for one agency’s doctor’s shift

The parent body of the medical school, the University of Worcester, has resorted to charitable donations and money from local NHS trusts to fund places for 20 of the 48 British students it had already accepted. The school had a thousand applications overall.

In 2018 the Royal College of Physicians called for the number of medical school places to be doubled. In 2021 the Medical Schools Council called for 5,000 additional places. But the successive governments over that period have instead decided to deny places to British students and rely on overseas imports.