What is the new Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship?

·2-min read
 (National Cancer Institute / Unsplash)
(National Cancer Institute / Unsplash)

Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeships, a new medical training route, are being offered by healthcare employers to widen access for trainee doctors.

The recently approved alternative training will span five years, much like a traditional university medical degree - with a standards review after three years.

The Level-7 education pathway, equivalent to a master's degree, will involve similar training to existing routes, with the bonus of earning a wage while studying.

Healthcare provider organisations employing these apprentices will meet some tuition costs while other funds are available to help further training costs.

Roles have been made open to recruits from a variety of backgrounds to better reflect the diversity of local communities in the medical workforce.

It also aims to more quickly fill posts in understaffed areas by relieving some financial burden from junior employees.

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive at The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), said: “For many seeing that an apprentice can become a medical doctor will be a big surprise, but employers are driving change in the way we think about skills in this country – not everyone’s journey to career success has to be the same.

“We are opening up high-status professions to give talented people of all ages the opportunity to use an apprenticeship to get the same high-quality training as via the traditional university route.”

New starters are not anticipated to begin until September 2023, although the apprenticeship has been signed off by IfATE.

Meanwhile funded medical school places have seen an increase by 25% as five new medical schools have been opened across England, according to the Minister for Health Maria Caulfield.

She said: “It is vital that no talented student is hindered from pursuing medicine and this new apprenticeship will make a huge difference in improving access to the profession by enabling students to earn while they learn.

“This means patients will be seen quicker by a growing workforce that is more diverse and representative of local communities, as staff continue to work hard to beat the Covid backlogs.”

Professor Liz Hughes at Health Education England (HEE) said: “The Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship will make a career in medicine accessible for talented people from every background while maintaining the exact same high standards of training set out by the General Medical Council.

“It has only been possible to break down the barriers of entry to this profession with the support of these partners, including employers, regulators, medical schools, HEE’s Patient advisory forum members and medical unions.”

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