Intended for healthcare professionals


Medical doctor apprenticeships are coming to the UK

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 11 August 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p1826
  1. Matthew David Morgan, deputy dean1,
  2. Jahangir Alom, emergency medicine doctor2,
  3. Elisha De-Alker, final year medical student1,
  4. Sally Curtis, deputy head of school education3
  1. 1Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Hull, UK
  2. 2Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK
  3. 3Primary Care, Population Science and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to: M D Morgan Matthew.Morgan{at}

Essential details are missing from plans for fundamental changes to medical education

The NHS has been under severe pressure for many years, exacerbated by substantial gaps in the healthcare workforce and complicated by inequities in healthcare access and outcomes.1 In response, NHS England’s long term workforce plan proposes to increase medical student numbers by 30% by 2028-29, including 850 medical doctor apprenticeships, and to double numbers by 2031.2

The past two decades have seen the introduction of four year graduate entry programmes, and six year widening participation (Gateway) programmes for underrepresented students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Despite these initiatives, 72% of entrants to four and and five year programmes in 2017 came from “managerial and professional” households.3 Further, the rising cost of living has highlighted unequal access to financial support for medical students, including the inadequate NHS bursary and accrual of substantial debt from tuition fee and maintenance loans.4 Students in England entering a five year programme in 2023, and dependent on student loans to cover …

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