The General Medical Council pledged yesterday to help more disabled students train as doctors after complaints that many of them were barred entry to medical school.

Guidance from the GMC – which registers doctors when they qualify – advises medical schools not to admit students whose condition prevents them from following the full course.

The ruling also bars students with infectious diseases such as hepatitis B. But courses are often modified to help students who become disabled while studying medicine.

Lawyers acting for the medical students committee of the British Medical Association, which has campaigned for wider access, have concluded that the policy is discriminatory and could be a breach of human rights. Jennie Ciechan, who chairs the committee, said: "The legal opinion is that the present situation is untenable and, although pursuing legal action would be a last resort, the opinion is firm evidence of why the situation should change."

Professor Sir Graeme Catto, the new president of the medical council, said: "The current balance is not sustainable ...I think the policies will change in the near future."