Thursday, 13 December 2012

The cost of becoming a doctor

I read an article the other day which stated that it costs the taxpayer £250,000 to put a student through medical school (I can't find the link to the article now, but it was to do with the recent stories about Medical workforce planning and the talk of decreasing UK medical school places by 2%). This really shocked me! I knew that Medical school was expensive, but a quarter of a million pounds is a great deal of money. I mean, if I were to win that amount of money on the lottery I'd be incredibly happy. It also raised all my doubts about whether I'm good enough to be at med school and whether it was a fluke/they made a mistake in offering me a place. I don't feel worthy of that amount of money being spent on my education! It makes me feel pretty guilty, but it is also a good motivator to do some revision.

I then got to thinking about the total amount of money that's been spent on my education so far:
  • Private secondary school fees (total 5 years): ~ £1050 (I was on a heavily subsidised scholarship)
  • MPharm Pharmacy degree (4 years): taxpayer - £140,000, uni fees - ~ £13,000
  • Pre-reg Pharmacy year (1 year): The training base received ~ £18,000 for having me
  • MBChB Medicine degree (4 years): taxpayer - £250,000, uni fees - ~£18,750, NHS fee bursary ~£9750
Total: £450,550 (and this doesn't even count the cost to the tax payer of primary school and college, uni maintenance grants and the NHS living allowance bursary...)
I feel pretty guilty about the £140,000 spent on training me to become qualified as a Pharmacist (not to mention the extra 4 years of me studying, and therefore not paying taxes) when I'm never going to be working in Pharmacy again once I'm qualified as a Doctor (hopefully). I suppose other people train as Pharmacists/Doctors etc. in the UK and then go and work abroad, at least I will be working for the NHS when I qualify, just not as a Pharmacist. It does put into perspective the recent rise in tuition fees and the arguements for making all Medicine courses Graduate Entry only. Other degrees don't cost anywhere near this amount, especially arts degrees, but I can kind of understand the government's decision to raise tuition fees when thinking about the cost of further education to the taxpayer, especially when seeing many of the people I went to uni with now working in jobs which don't require a degree, and which are totally unrelated to their degree course. At least when I graduate I'll be using the skills it cost the tax payer so much to teach me.

Maybe people would work harder at Medical school if they knew that £50,000 was being spent on them being there each year?

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