The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, former Secretary of State for Health and current Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, gave a special lecture to students, their guests and colleagues from BSMS on Wednesday 1 November.
Mr Milburn addressed the Social Mobility Commission’s recently published report ‘Time for Change’, which shows that two decades of government efforts to improve social mobility have failed to deliver enough progress in reducing the gap between Britain’s ‘haves and have nots’.
Mr Milburn addressed the urgent need for progress in social mobility among the medical professions, highlighting that only 4% of medics in the UK come from a working class background.
He argued that more needed to be done to address the lack of doctors from working class backgrounds, but praised BSMS for its widening participation programme, which is addressing this issue.
"Widening participation has been a big success story here in Britain, and BSMS is certainly one of the big success stories," said Mr Milburn. “Through its widening participation programme, BSMS is providing opportunities to young people who wouldn't get the same chance everywhere else. This is also hugely beneficial for our health services."
Prof Malcolm Reed, Dean at BSMS, said: "The aim of our widening participation programme is to ensure that our graduates reflect the full range of society. Whilst it can be difficult to find suitable ways of reliably identifying students from a disadvantaged background, there is no doubt that BSMS has achieved well above the target set by the Selecting for Excellence Report of 2014. Using these measures, our most recent cohort of new students includes 40% from a widening participation background."