‘We are not elitist’ says the head of UCLan’s School of Medicine, after a UK charity criticised the uni’s ‘foreign students only’ entrance to its new medical degree.
Professor Cathy Jackson said that UK students weren’t allowed to apply for this September’s Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) because of a lack of UK government funding for home students. Instead, the degree will launch with only 38 non-EU international students, each paying a whopping £182,500 in tuition fees over five years.
It’s thought that UCLan is keen to develop its new medical school, and may be launching the self-funded MBBS to do so in the absence of UK government funding.
But the move was reportedly slammed by Deborah Streatfield, founder of UK social mobility charity MyBigCareer, who told the BBC: “This course is linked to NHS providers and yet attracts students who can self-fund £182,500 in tuition fees over five years.
“This does absolutely nothing to help young students from disadvantaged backgrounds who struggle to access medical courses and then face five years of fees and tuition loans.
“These students would love to work and give back to the NHS if given a chance.”
But Prof Jackson, Dean of UCLan’s School of Medicine, hit back saying: “We are very much not an elitist organisation and we are working with our partner trusts to improve the health economy in all the regions in which we are based.
“These international students self-fund their course in the same way as international students do at every other medical school in the UK. Unlike the other schools however, we don’t receive government funding to enrol home students.”
UCLan designed the new degree in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. But despite local NHS involvement, the course has no Department of Health and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills funding like other UK public medical schools.
The uni has claimed it has ‘a very good reputation in helping to wide participation’ in medical education.
And Prof Jackson did not rule out future changes in favour of UK students, saying: “We would like to take home students and are actively looking at ways to make this possible, even without public funding.”