medical
  • Cap adjusted to allow over 9,000 places on medical and dentistry courses for 2021 student intake
  • Universities working to create additional places for students that achieve the grades on vital courses
  • Backed by up to £10m in government support for the teaching of high-cost courses

Medical and dentistry schools across England will get additional funding to expand courses for the coming academic year to fulfil more offers for UK students who achieve the required grades.

In response to this year’s unprecedented situation the Government has adjusted the cap on medical and dentistry places so that more students than ever will have the opportunity to study on these courses in 2021, and in the long term help boost our future NHS workforce.

Applications for medicine and dentistry have increased by 20% this year compared to last year. These courses are traditionally some of the most popular for students but a cap on places ensures standards are maintained and that every student has an appropriate placement and training throughout their studies.

The measures bring the total of medical and dentistry places to over 9,000 in universities in England for this year to support courses and public services which are essential to protect into the future.

For this academic year, universities that can accommodate an increase to medical and dentistry places for students that have met the grades and hold a firm offer at a university with pressure on places will be supported to do so. For these universities that can take on more students that have met the grades whilst also ensuring teaching, learning and assessments standards are maintained, there will be flexibility to add to their numbers. 

As in previous years, the government has been working closely with higher education providers ahead of results day to ensure as many students as possible can progress if they get the grades they need.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Students have worked incredibly hard over the past 18 months and we have continued to put their best interests first to ensure they can progress on to the next stage of their education training or career.

“Throughout this pandemic our NHS heroes have been at the forefront of the response and their resilience, dedication and perseverance has clearly inspired the next generation.

“Medicine and dentistry have always been popular courses and we have seen significant demand for places this year alongside other subjects like engineering and nursing. We want to match student enthusiasm and ensure as many as possible can train this year to be the doctors and healthcare professionals of the future.” 

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said:

“COVID-19 has challenged healthcare staff and students like never before, and our nation has relied on them to keep us and our loved ones safe.

“As we look beyond the pandemic, it’s incredibly important we safeguard the future of our NHS by ensuring there is a pipeline of high-quality staff to bolster the workforce in the years ahead.

“Working closely with universities, we’re helping more students who meet the bar to get a place this year to study medicine or dentistry and join these fantastic professions.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:

“Despite the challenges students have remained focused and shown amazing drive and ambition, demonstrated by the increase in applications for courses like medicine and dentistry.

“In an unprecedented year, both for students and the NHS, it is important that we as a government look for solutions which is why we have put these measures in place for this year so that more students than ever before can take up a place on these vital courses.”

Clare Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive said:

“We welcome today’s announcement as it gives more students the opportunity to study their first choice of course next year. Students applying for medicine and dentistry have been ambitious with their choices, and continued to stretch themselves during the pandemic to prepare for challenging study and rewarding future careers.”

The Government has also worked with UCAS, the Office for Students and the medical and dental school process to ensure there is a system for 2021 that matches students who meet their grades to unfulfilled places at medical and dental schools with space.

In anticipation of a greater interest in places this year on popular courses that are key to the country’s recovery from the pandemic, up to £10 million in additional grant funding will be provided to universities through the Office for Students to help them to increase capacity in medical, dentistry, nursing, STEM and other high-cost subjects.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the Government’s announcement that they are raising the cap on healthcare places at universities ahead of A-level and BTECs results day, said

“Ministers dismissed calls for a contingency plan on exams and are now operating in panic mode desperately appealing to universities to clean-up their mess ahead of results day.

“Young people getting their results have worked incredibly hard in unprecedented circumstances. The Prime Minister has let them down with a second year of chaos and confusion, he must guarantee every student getting their results will be able to progress with their education or employment.

“If the Government can create these additional healthcare places at just days’ notice, it begs serious questions about why they have not acted sooner to tackle the ongoing workforce crisis in the NHS.”

Notes:

  • Caps on medicine and dentistry are in place to ensure teaching, learning and assessment standards are maintained. Controlling these figures also ensures every student has the appropriate placement and training during the course of their studies.
  • The Government is committed to ensuring that the number and distribution of medical school places are in line with England’s workforce requirements, and continues to monitor the effectiveness of current arrangements.   
  • Over 9,000 refers to domestic and international students across medicine and dentistry but additional capacity was only for domestic students. All additional places will be fully funded including clinical places.
  • Nursing places aren’t capped in the same way as medical and dentistry places and can be a great progression route for students, including from vocational courses.

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