MEDICINE COURSE A BURSARY of £4,000 per year will be made available to students on Scotland’s new graduate entry medical course. The optional grant – worth up to £16,000 over the four-year course

– will be payable to those who agree to work in Scotland’s NHS. For each £4,000 claimed, there will be a commitment to one year of service, beginning from the start of foundation training. The ScotGEM course will be hosted by the universities of Dundee and

St Andrews with support from the University of the Highlands and Islands, and will have a particular focus on general practice and rural working. In addition to the return-of-service bursary, the Scottish Government

will pay the tuition fees for eligible students. Currently, eligible students are those assessed as “home funded” for fee purposes (Scottish domiciled/EU students). Find out more at


“JUNIOR” DOCTORS REFERRING to doctors as “junior” or “trainees” is discriminatory and belittling, according to a new campaign launched by the Oxford Health Alliance. It’s gained the backing of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dame Sally

Davies who said doctors needed job titles that give them “the respect they deserve”.

The campaign is calling for the return of the titles senior house

officer and registrar, which are still used informally. Professor David Matthews, a professor of diabetes at

Oxford, said the name change would be an easy way to make doctors feel valued. He told the Times: “It’s crazy that we’ve adopted this terminology. It’s unjust, progressively inaccurate and detrimental to self-esteem. The labels are widely misunderstood by the public.” Some doctors referred to as “juniors” have more than 10 years’ experience but their title means they can be mistaken for students by patients. A survey of 400 juniors found more than half felt

the title was bad for morale. Health Education England has agreed to

look at the issue but said the final decision would have to be taken by ministers.


OF FEMALE TRAINEES THE number of female doctors in training increased again last year, although overall growth is slowing down, new figures show. The proportion of female trainees has risen by just over six per

cent in the past five years, from 33,000 in 2012 to 35,000 in 2017. Women now make up 58 per cent of all doctors in training, up from 57 per cent in 2015. But there is evidence this trend is slowing down, with a nine per

cent overall reduction in the number of female trainees under 30 between 2012 and 2017. One possible explanation is that more female doctors are taking career breaks and are taking longer to complete their training. The figures were revealed in the General Medical Council’s report

The state of medical education and practice in the UK: 2017. It also noted that, over the same five-year period, the number of

male doctors in training fell by almost four per cent from 26,758 to 25,762. Elsewhere, there was an increase in the proportion of women in

surgical training between 2012 and 2017, from 24 per cent to 32 per cent. But it remains the training programme with the lowest proportion of females. Women continue to dominate obstetrics and gynaecology (81 per

cent), paediatrics and child health (77 per cent) and public health (73 per cent). In sexual and reproductive health – one of the smallest specialties – 27 of the 29 trainees are women. In terms of trainee numbers, intensive care medicine saw the

biggest five-year rise, from 60 to 192 (220 per cent), while emergency medicine also jumped from 664 to 1,438 (117 per cent). The biggest drop was in core training numbers which fell eight per cent from 8,805 to 8,089.


NEWLY qualified doctors will benefit from a new fixed term discount on their General Medical Council fees which could save them up to £1,000. The reductions will apply to doctors’ fees for up to six years on the

register, depending on how they join. All 7,000 doctors who apply for provisional registration from April 1,

2018 will benefit from the full package of discounts, saving them over £1,000. An additional 41,000 doctors who have been registered for less than six years will also enjoy some savings. All doctors who have held full registration for

more than five years will receive a fee reduction of £35 – meaning they will pay £390 for their annual retention fee instead of £425. The cuts are a result of operational savings made

by the regulator over the past two years. These include the relocation of more than 130 jobs from London to Manchester and reforms to streamline the GMC’s fitness to practise procedures. GMC Chair Professor Terence Stephenson said the decision was a

mark of the organisation’s drive to alleviate pressure on doctors new to medical practice and the wider medical profession where possible. Following feedback from registrants, the GMC will

also remove transaction charges from April 1 for those paying the annual retention fee via monthly or quarterly instalments. From 2019, the GMC has pledged to limit any fee

increases in line with inflation, to avoid large one-off increases in future years.

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