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Social Inclusion or Social Engineering? The Politics and Reality of Widening Access to Medicine in the UK

Alexander, K; Cleland, J; (2018) Social Inclusion or Social Engineering? The Politics and Reality of Widening Access to Medicine in the UK. In: Shah, M and McKay, J, (eds.) Achieving Equity and Quality in Higher Education Global Perspectives in an Era of Widening Participation. (pp. 143-172). Springer: Cham, Switzerland. Green open access

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Abstract

Although driven by policy and investment, the available data suggests that, to date, UK efforts to minimise the barriers into professions such as medicine have had mixed success. We explore the myriad social, individual and structural reasons why the resources invested in widening access (WA) activities have not significantly increased the representation of applicants from lower socio-economic groups within medical schools. We discuss the different discourses of widening access/increasing diversity in the UK context – notably those of ‘social mobility’ and ‘increasing diversity to improve workforce efficiency’ – and how these are interpreted and enacted “on the ground”. This includes examining the synergies and tensions between widening access and maintaining quality, and the gap between political directives and policy enactment within medical schools. We discuss if the different discourses of widening access can be reconciled, and if so, whether this can be done in a way to support widening access.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Social Inclusion or Social Engineering? The Politics and Reality of Widening Access to Medicine in the UK
ISBN: 3319783165
ISBN-13: 9783319783161
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-78316-1_7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78316-1_7
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: widening access, discourse, policy enactment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088750
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