Medical and dentistry schools across England will benefit from additional funding to expand courses for the next academic year. This will remove the cap, meaning there will be over 9,000 places on medical and dentistry university courses available in England. This is to help increase the NHS workforce in the long term and fulfil more offers for UK students achieving the required grades. This will allow universities to hold a firm place for students.
Data has already shown that applications for medicine and dentistry courses have increased by 20% this year in comparison to last year. The courses are already typically some of the most popular amongst students but having the cap in place ensures that standards are maintained, and that every student has an appropriate placement, including training throughout their studies.
Up to £10m in additional grant funding will be provided to universities, in anticipation of a greater interest in places this year on popular courses. The funding will be provided through the Office for Students to help them increase capacity in medical, dentistry, nursing, STEM, and other high-cost subjects.
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.”
Flexibility around increasing the number of students will be given to the universities who are able to take on more students meeting the requirements. This will also be given based on the universities being able to maintain teaching, learning and assessments standards.
Health Secretary, 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.”
The government have previously worked closely with higher education providers ahead of results day to ensure as many students as possible achieving the required grades, can progress. They also worked with UCAS, to ensure that students meeting their grades are matched to unfulfilled places at medical and dental schools, who have additional space.
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.”