HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1123-4
11. Dr. Stuttaford

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many medical students attended universities in 1972; and how this compares with the number in 1967.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

In the academic year 1967–68 there were 12,600 undergraduate medical students in Great Britain. The exact number in 1972–73 is not yet known but is estimated to be 15,100.

Dr. Stuttaford

Does my hon. Friend agree that as well as maintaining numbers it is also important to maintain quality and that when assessing quality it is just as important to have a personality assessment as it is to have an academic assessment, because the general practitioner service depends more upon dedicated service than upon high academic standards?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I agree that personality qualifications are equally as important as academic qualifications. We hope to have both in the new schools being developed at Southampton and Leicester. We hope that high standards in both spheres will be maintained.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Can the hon. Gentleman say how many women medical students attended universities in the two years in question? Can the hon. Gentleman also state why we seem to be so much against women becoming doctors in this country?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I should be glad to provide the figures for the hon. Gentleman. Perhaps it would be safer to do so after tomorrow.

Mr. Selwyn Gummer

Will my hon. Friend not only provide the figures but look into the fact that medical training is very much less available to women than to men and that that has been the case for years? Would it not be a good step for the present Government to see that that is no longer true and that women have the same chance as men?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

If it were a fact, I should be prepared to look into it.

Mr. James Johnson

The hon. Gentleman referred just now to the new schools at Southampton and Leicester. Will he confirm that the city of Kingston upon Hull has staked a claim for a medical school in view of the fact that once we get over the Humber we shall have a catchment area of a million or more population? Can the hon. Gentleman say where we stand as regards having a medical school at our university?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I know of the hon. Gentleman's interest in the subject but I am afraid that I can give him no undertaking that a new medical school will be started in that area. Our estimates are based on the need for doctors in the near future. We estimate that, with the two medical schools which have been planned and the expansion of existing schools, the need for doctors will be met fully.