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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 October 6; 335(7622): 684.
PMCID: PMC2001083
Medical Migration

The real elephant in the room

Mohammad Farhad Peerally, fourth year medical student

Winyard has missed the issue of non-European Union UK medical graduates.1 These students make up about 15% of medical undergraduates, and UK medical schools depend on their financial backing to survive. Each student would have forked out at least £80 000 (€114 000; $162 000) by year 5, excluding the cost of living. When these students first chose to study in Britain, the rules would have allowed them fair access to postgraduate training.

Since April 2006, with the abolition of permit-free training, these students—many with 10 times the debt of local students—are left in limbo, with a strong feeling of breach of moral contract. What I fail to understand is why these non-EU students are included in the figures used by the Department of Health and the Foreign Office when accounting for UK graduates but are judged as “international medical graduates” when applying for jobs.

What people should also know is that despite international students paying at least £80 000 for their training, it costs the taxpayer about £250 000 to train each of them.

If priority is to be given to UK graduates when allocating postgraduate training posts, it makes sense that all UK graduates are accounted for, including non-European Union UK graduates, who after seven years of training in the UK consider the UK to be their home.


Competing interests: MFP is an international medical student in a British medical school.


1. Winyard G. Medical immigration: the elephant in the room. BMJ 2007;335:593-5. (22 September.) [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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