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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Doctors qualify on access degree
Doctors and nurses
The students had an extra year of studies
The first medical students on a special course for bright pupils from deprived areas have qualified as doctors.

The King's College London course gives a chance to students with the potential but not the school exam grades usually needed to study medicine.

Three of the nine students who began the course in 2001 have graduated, with the others either repeating a year or continuing their studies.

They have to meet the same degree standards as other medicine students.


The extended medical degree programme (EMDP) was the first full degree course designed to widen participation among disadvantaged groups.

To be eligible, students must attend a state school or sixth form college in one of the 10 most deprived inner London boroughs.

The course is based on the standard medical degree but takes six years to complete instead of the usual five.

This allows the students to study at a slower pace, and to absorb the sort of foundation work that other entrants normally have already.

They also are given assistance through mentors, personalised learning programmes and extra support.

The programme started with the nine students in 2001, but currently more than 200 are on it.

Programme director Dr Pamela Garlick said: "After six years of running the EMDP, we have shown that it is possible to recruit and retain students from educationally under-privileged backgrounds in inner London to train, and qualify, as doctors.

"These students now make up over 10% of the medical student population at King's College London and the best of them are consistently in the top 15% of their whole year group in examination results."

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