Increasing numbers of medical undergraduates from lower socioeconomic backgrounds: positive for health care?
TI Lemon, B A Stone
Cardiff University, School of Medicine, Cochrane Medical Education Centre, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales
Economic stagnation in the UK has been a prominent issue for the last five years, leading to an increase in unemployment and a subsequent rise of numbers in the lower socioeconomic classes.1 Seyan et al2 have shown that students from the lower socioeconomic classes are under-represented in medical schools. However, their study was carried out in a time of economic prosperity, and we suggest that this is reversed in times of economic deprivation, to the benefit of patients.
Adaptation theory3 suggests that an organism suffering change in their environment will adapt to change and become better suited to survival. In this case, the organism is the adolescent population of the UK, the change in environment is the economic downturn, and in turn, their adaptation is to turn to professional jobs in order to provide themselves with secure income and live happier and healthier lives. Thus, it is reasonable to suggest that we will see growing numbers of medical students coming from the lower socioeconomic classes in the near future.
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