Doctors of the future - Scotland’s first graduate entry medical course begins
Published On Wed 3 Oct 2018
A new graduate entry medical course with a focus on rural and GP medicine has begun in St Andrews and Dundee.
ScotGEM is a Scottish Government-funded course open to students who have graduated with a degree other than medicine. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman was in St Andrews to meet some of the 55 students who have started work on the four year course, hosted by the medical schools at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands and NHS Scotland.
Students are eligible to apply for an optional bursary of £4,000 per year in return for agreeing, that on graduating, they will work one year of service in Scotland’s NHS. In addition to the return-of-service bursary, the Scottish Government is also paying the tuition fees for eligible students.
ScotGEM is Scotland’s first graduate-entry level medicine course, and it offers students the chance to experience general practice and remote rural working, with a focus on community-based training.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said, "We are taking a number of steps to create the sustainable health and social care workforce needed for the future. This includes our commitment to create 800 more GPs in the next decade.
"ScotGEM is one of the components of these efforts, and I’m absolutely delighted to be in St Andrew’s today to meet some of the students and staff involved.
"The course gives graduates the opportunity to convert to medicine, regardless of their original degree. There is a focus on GP and rural working – giving students the chance to experience these rewarding career paths - and the £16,000 bursary available over the four years makes it an accessible option."
Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee, said, "ScotGEM continues our long history of delivering innovative medical education to healthcare professionals here in Scotland and around the world. This is a partnership that ultimately can make a significant difference to provision of health and social care in communities right across Scotland."
Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, said, "ScotGEM has enabled St Andrews to make another step change in our approach to clinical training and, together with our partners, we are glad to be educating a new generation of medics with skills across the interface between health and social care.
"Scotland’s first graduate entry programme will widen access to medicine, increase diversity in the profession and produce more doctors with a passion for a general practice career."
The Scottish Government is investing £23 million in a package of measures to contribute towards a more sustainable medical workforce. This funding includes ScotGEM, a pre-entry medical course and an additional 50 'widening access' places in medical schools.
ScotGEM is contributing to an overall increase in the number of medical places in Scottish universities to a record high of 1,038 by 2021 – an increase of 22% since 2016.