medical schools council


Guidance on outreach programmes released for medical schools and widening access organisations


For immediate release

With support from the Office for Fair Access, A Journey to Medicine: Outreach Guidance has today been published by the Medical Schools Council’s Selecting for Excellence project. 

A Journey to Medicine sets out the value of outreach and what it means to medicine. It is aimed at medical schools, those involved in postgraduate medical education, the NHS, and organisations which work in widening participation and access.

Case studies, from St George’s, University of London’s ‘Primary Practice After School Club’ to Newcastle Medical School’s ‘Teachers and Advisers Session’, reveal the core concepts necessary for building outreach programmes which make a difference. These concepts include following through on initial contact with consolidation activities, the use of medical student ambassadors, and coordinating with universities’ wider outreach teams. 

Professor Tony Weetman, Chair of the Selecting for Excellence Executive Group, says ‘A candidate’s journey to a medical degree starts long before the UCAS application is made. The commitment in terms of hard work and academic achievement is of course essential, but before that must come the awareness that studying medicine is an option. That realisation does not come readily to all potential candidates, be they school students or mature learners, and we know that one’s background will play a central part here. 

‘Medical schools cannot leave potentially excellent candidates to learn this message on their own; they have a responsibility, where possible, to reach out to these people and show them first-hand that a career in medicine is for anyone with the ability and commitment. There are effective outreach programmes being used to achieve this and A Journey to Medicine details their methods so that great ideas can be shared and further work encouraged. 

‘This document is a perfect example of what Selecting for Excellence is doing as a whole in terms of widening participation to medicine. That is, analysing the work already underway, understanding what has been successful, and sharing this through recommendations on how best practice can be spread. There is a long way to go for improving access to medicine but A Journey to Medicine marks a major intervention by the medical schools in one of the journey’s key phases.’ 

Link: A Journey to Medicine: Outreach Guidance

The final report of the Selecting for Excellence project will be published on the 10th of December. 


Notes for editors: 

1. Also released today from the Selecting for Excellence project is Work experience guidance for applicants to medicine, a common statement of principles on work experience in admissions to medicine. See it here.
2. The Selecting for Excellence Executive Group was formed in summer 2013 from organisations across the areas of higher education, healthcare and widening access. Its 18-month project, looking at selection methods to medicine and with a focus on widening participation, will conclude in December 2014 with the publication of its final report. For more information on Selecting for Excellence, including the Executive Group’s membership, click here.

3. The Medical Schools Council represents the interests and ambitions of UK medical schools as they relate to the generation of national health, wealth and knowledge through biomedical research and the profession of medicine. For further information about the work of the Medical Schools Council, see 

4. For more information please contact Edward Knight, Communications and Website Officer, on 020 7419 5427, or

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