Letter: Mr Dobson, this is unfair

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The Independent Online
IF 4.9 per cent of medical graduates plan to leave medicine, 95.1 per cent intend to stay - probably until they retire. If 10 per cent of graduates leave service, often temporarily in order to work abroad or (God forbid) have a baby, that leaves 90 per cent who spend their adult life without a view from outside the NHS. No wonder we inside the profession have such a parochial, protectionist ethos.

The Government should insist that movement in and out of early medical education becomes easier. A medical student who realises at 18 that medicine is the wrong career will find it almost impossible to move out. Giving up medicine may leave this high-achieving person without a degree at all, in a society where 30 per cent of 18-year-olds go to university. Very few medical students have the chance to get a bachelor's degree, and the student is ineligible for grants to support a fresh start. So the student will stick it out, in order to prove self-discipline and commitment. In this situation, we should rather be surprised that retention rates are good.

DR JACKIE CASSELL

Lewes, East Sussex

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