Doctor! Doctor!

Last week, when the A level results came out, the daughter of a friend of mine had, what she called crap results. She had one A and three B's.

Since she was a little girl she had always wanted to be a Doctor. Unfortunately her results weren't good enough to give her access to any medical course in any UK university.

A couple of weeks ago Leanne Wood made the pertinent point that:

Welsh NHS Trusts are facing problems recruiting doctors because of new immigration rules.

There are up to 25 per cent vacancies in some key specialities with some Trusts having an over-reliance on locum or agency doctors. Nearly 200 vacancies have been identified at just four of the NHS Trusts in Wales.

At the risk of being called racist, why are we refusing medical training to Welsh girls who could fill some of these vacancies?

If there are 200 vacancies for doctors in Welsh NHS trusts, why are Welsh medical school entry requirements so high as to discourage 200 Welsh school leavers from attempting to train to fill those vacancies?

My friend's daughter has embarked on a nursing course. Something that was available, in my day, to those with two C grade O levels – what a waste of an education! What awaste of public fund investment in her A level education!


  1. rhydian fôn09/09/2009, 10:08

    At the risk of being obvious, is it because we don't want crappy doctors? Are you suggesting that Welsh medical schools lower their entry requirements so that we can be treated by a load of rubbish doctors in Wales? And isn't it better that nursing is an intensive degree course with comprehensive training than being open to anyone with two GCSEs?

  2. What is "obvious" from your response is an elitist attitude. Until the mid 1990s nurse training was open to suitable candidates with one GCSE, the thousands of people who passed those nursing qualifications have gone on to be perfectly competent nurses, and we still form the backbone of the NHS's nursing service. The fact is that those who have had the intensive degree courses are worse nurses than those of us who did the O level entry apprenticeship training course - they come onto wards with a head full of theory and almost no practical ability.

    The idea that a student with three an A and 3 Bs in A level results would become a "crappy" doctor is also based on snobbishness rather than reality. The results show an academic ability which would enable the student to deal with the rigours of a medical course, the problem is that not enough courses are available neither to provide an opportunity for those who wish to pursue a career in medicine nor to provide the number of doctors that the NHS needs according to Leanne's figures.

  3. Alwyn - My wife trained as an SEN in Aberystwyth in 1978, and is still nursing...now top of grade 5 doing the same job as grade 6 (SRN) or now called RN(1). I'm sure she'd be the first to admit that she was no academic but has 25 years of competent and practical nursing. She would also probably agree with your assessment about degree nurses. I could go on and on and on...but I'd better not!!

  4. rhydian fôn09/09/2009, 20:24

    You would think that her failure to get into medical school was down to the fact that one or two of her B were in either chemistry or biology, or both. No university would refuse a candidate with As in both those subjects. The As might be in Welsh, English or General Studies. It seems important that a doctor knows their chemistry and biology. I have no desire to trust my life to someone who failed to meet the required standard, be it in medicine or nursing.

    If you think that's elitist, you are missing the point. We should strive to ensure equality of oppotunity - such as making sure that everyone who want to be a doctor has the chances to learn in order to meet those standards. It does not mean lowering standards so that those who qualify are not of the quality you would expect.

    As for nursing, there was a desire to ensure that nursing became a true profession, giving a standard of education that enables new graduates to go further than nurses from 50 years ago. It's about improving healthcare. Are you suggesting that we stop trying to better ourselves and just make do?

  5. Universities in the UK get more cash if they accept students from overseas. Hence why there is reduced room for Welsh/English/Scot and Irish. Now Rhydian has a point of view which would be different if there was an influx of English Foreigners into Wales to live.