Pathway to medicine

Sunday 16 July 2006

Careers in medicine are to be offered to Scottish college students for the first time under a new joint access programme launched by Perth College and the University of St Andrews.

From 2007, mature students completing an HNC in Applied Sciences at Perth College will be able to progress to study medicine at St Andrews.

The Pathway to Medicine scheme is a direct response to the Calman Report 2005 which called for new medical education initiatives to address the shortage of doctors working in the NHS in Scotland.

Sir Kenneth Calman’s Review of Basic Medical Education in Scotland 2005 found that only 55% of students graduating from Scottish medical schools stay north of the border after completing their studies.

The Perth St Andrews initiative aims to recruit would-be doctors from non-traditional medical backgrounds in Scotland in the belief that a greater proportion of these will ultimately choose careers in the Scottish NHS.

Competition to study medicine in Scotland is fierce. Until now, no Scottish medical school has accepted college HNCs or HNDs as qualification for entry, nor has any medical entry scheme specifically sought to recruit mature students.

Applicants for the Perth College HNC must be over 21 and have no tradition of university study in their immediate family. During the year- long course they will study chemistry, microbiology, cell biology, human physiology, information technology, presentation skills in science, health and safety and maths, as well as completing a science project.

The course will also include regular campus visits to the Bute Medical School in St Andrews and the opportunity to shadow medical undergraduates as a taster of what to expect.

The University of St Andrews has set aside a limited number of places in its six-year medical programme for students who complete the Pathway to Medicine HNC in Perth. Selection will be based on an initial interview and subsequent performance at college.

The first intake of Pathway to Medicine students will begin study in Perth in autumn 2006 with successful graduates going on to begin a medical degree in St Andrews the following year.

St Andrews Director of Scottish Recruitment and Access, Fraser Keir, said:

“There are many mature students in Scotland who have the ability and the life experience to become excellent doctors, but until we developed this access course, very few had the opportunity to study for a career in medicine.

“The University of St Andrews strives to be at the forefront of offering educational opportunity and we are pleased to be leading the way with Perth College in providing a pathway to study medicine for mature students.

There are still places available on the HNC Applied Sciences (Pathway to Medicine) for starting in September this year and I would encourage anyone wishing to take up this opportunity to contact Perth College without delay.”

Mandy Exley, Principal of Perth College, said :

“Pathway to Medicine is a pioneering example of real education and community partnership in operation.

“It is a fantasitc opportunity to demonstrate the impact of parity of esteem between vocational and academic qualifications and the realisation of the potential of local people.

“We are delighted to be working with St Andrews on this national example of best practice and to contribute to the sustainability of NHS Scotland.”

Professor Andrew Riches, Acting Head of the Bute Medical School at the University of St Andrews said the School was seeking to respond positively to the recommendations of the Calman Report.

“We look forward to welcoming and enrolling those students who have successfully completed their course at Perth College. Their experience of life and maturity of years will give added value to the whole cohort of students that is admitted each September.”


Issued by Beattie Media – On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected] Ref: pathway to medicine 170706.doc View the latest University press releases at

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