UCL’s Target Medicine programme discussed with Cabinet Office
9 May 2012
Dr Jayne Kavanagh and Ms Shirley Cupit (UCL Target Medicine) visited Whitehall to discuss access to the medical profession with Cabinet Office civil servants.
Academics from the UCL Medical School Widening Participation Project were invited by The Right Honorable Alan Milburn’s team in his role as Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty.
Mr Milburn identified medicine as a profession of particular concern when it comes to access from non-typical backgrounds, and his team were keen to gather evidence from people working to improve the situation. His team were told about Target Medicine, as well as learning what Dr Kavanagh and Ms Cupit thought should be highlighted in an upcoming report.
Dr Kavanagh explained: “Target Medicine is delivered by medical students from UCL Medical School, with support from academic staff. The project aims to inspire students from non-selective state schools to consider a career in medicine and to mentor and support them through the process of applying to medical school.
“Alan Milburn’s team were interested to hear that, through its Sixth Form mentoring scheme and Year 11 Summer School, Target Medicine mentors over 250 students from non-selective state schools every year. The team was impressed that the project is almost entirely delivered by UCL medical students supported by academic staff.”
Shirley Cupit commented: “Dr Kavanagh, Cabinet Office civil servants and I discussed how Target Medicine is addressing the barriers faced by comprehensive school students when trying to gain entry to medicine. Dr Kavanagh and I conveyed our concern about the requirement for work experience in hospitals/GP surgeries. As it stands, medical work experience in the UK tends to be a nepotistic affair with no transparent system for applications – it all depends on who you know.”
In light of this, Alan Milburn’s team wanted to know about Target Medicine’s success securing work experience for some of its students at UCLH, and plans to do the same at The Royal Free and Whittington hospitals.
“We took the opportunity to ask for Alan Milburn’s support for these ventures – as well as Target Medicine in general – and will be inviting him to the opening of our work experience programme at the Royal Free this summer,” commented Ms Cupit.
Mr Milburn’s team have expressed an interest in using Target Medicine as a model to be rolled out in other medical schools and across other professions.