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Selecting for Excellence 
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Selecting for Excellence was initiated by the Medical Schools Council in March 2013 and launched fully the following July with a view to looking at the issue of selection to medicine with particular focus on widening participation. It supports medical schools in selecting the candidates most suited to becoming the excellent doctors of the future. Its final report was launched in December 2014 and can be accessed in the links to the right-hand side.

Why Selecting for Excellence was launched
It is well known that medicine is a demanding subject to study, requiring the highest level of intellect and skill. It is also a very competitive application process with many more people applying to enter a course than there are places available. As a result, there are stringent entry requirements with medical schools requiring high academic achievement as well as strong performance in other selection methods, which can include things such as interviews and aptitude tests.

With such demanding entry criteria, it is important that candidates are selected in the fairest possible way. Concerns have been raised that some people, despite having the necessary aptitude to study medicine, are being excluded from this career and that this is to the detriment of the future medical profession. Such concerns have been raised in Alan Milburn’s reports on fair access to professional careers.

As the demographics in the UK are changing and the aspirations for our health service increase, we need to ensure that medical schools are selecting students based on who will be the most effective doctors. The Selection Literature Review, commissioned by the GMC and published in November 2012, highlighted the fact that UK medical schools use a variety of different methods to select their students. UK medical schools run a variety of curricula and teach in different ways, and while there are very good reasons for this diversity of approach, there is also a need to ensure that decisions on selection are consistent.

The role of Selecting for Excellence
Through widening participation initiatives medical schools can encourage those with the potential to study medicine to see it as a viable option no matter what their socio-economic circumstances. Selecting for Excellence works to find ways of implementing recommendations from important reports relevant to widening participation and medical school selection, such as the GMC's Selection Literature Review, Alan Milburn's Fair Access to the Professional Careers: a Progress Report and the Shape of Training Review.

The work of Selecting for Excellence has been split into four work streams:

  • Widening participation
  • The role of the doctor
  • Selection Methods
  • Evidence base

Governance structure
Selecting for Excellence is chaired by Professor Tony Weetman with administrative support provided by the Medical Schools Council secretariat. The core group meets at least quarterly and has continued to do so during its first year. Selecting for Excellence is able to establish sub-groups which will look in more detail at specific issues when required, and the core group has oversight of the work of sub-groups. Any recommendations by Selecting for Excellence are signed off by the Medical Schools Council.

Further information can be found in the Terms of Reference on the right.

Organisations represented on the group

  • BMA Medical Students Committee
  • Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
  • Department for Education
  • Department of Health
  • General Medical Council
  • Health Education England
  • Higher Education Funding Council England
  • Medical Schools Council
  • NHS Employers
  • Office for Fair Access
  • Social Mobility Foundation
  • The Brightside Trust

If you have any questions about the work of Selecting for Excellence or the Medical Schools Council, please contact us.

Medical Schools Council
Medical Schools Council - Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HD
Tel: +44 (0)20 7419 5494 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7380 1482 | Email: admin@medschools.ac.uk
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