The first private medical school in the UK has opened with its first intake of 67 students beginning this term.
Students studying at the school, which is based at the University of Buckingham, will be expected to pay annual tuition fees of £36,000. Initial research indicated that the school’s first intake of students would be from overseas; however a large majority of the school’s first students are from the UK.
John Clapham, the medical school’s chief operating officer, said he has been ‘staggered’ by the demand for places.
However, the University of Buckingham isn’t as surprised and have attributed the schools popularity to the sheer number of aspiring medicine students willing to pay higher fees at private schools if they are unsuccessful applying for public universities.
The course at the new medical school will last four and half years and the University of Buckingham has said their entry standards will be just as rigorous as other medical schools.
The students will gain training including a mix of clinical and biomedical science teaching and will work in conjunction with the Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Trust.
However, there have been concerns that the new medical school could be too socially exclusive to those from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Students attending the new school will be paying fees four times higher than at public universities in England, which are currently capped at £9,000 per year, seeing the total cost of the course costing more than £162,000.
The Office for Fair Access has said that only 4% of students beginning medicine or dentistry courses are from disadvantaged families.
In response to this criticism, Professor Clapham added that he hoped that bursaries would be made available in the future for some students, making the medical school more accessible to those from all backgrounds.