HC Deb 26 June 1973 vol 858 cc1312-3
25. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many applications were received from women students for places in medical schools during each of the past four years; and how many were accepted.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Within the scheme run by the Universities Central Council of Admissions, the numbers of women applying to read medicine for the four years from 1969–70 to 1972–73 were 1,805, 2,091, 2,642 and 3,192 respectively; the corresponding acceptances were 660, 731, 880 and 909. The total numbers of women accepted to read medicine in the United Kingdom in these years were 778, 861, 1,019 and 1,030 respectively.

Mr. Wainwright

I am delighted by the speed with which the hon. Gentleman read out that answer. Does he not agree that it is deplorable that in this country, when we are so short of doctors, we cannot even find more places for women in our medical schools? When will the Government do something about providing more places to ensure that more women can take up medical courses which they are willing to take but cannot do so because of the attitude of the Government against women doctors?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The whole question of women in medical schools is being examined and I do not wish to anticipate the advice of the Select Committee or the Green Paper which the Government intend to publish. But I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that women formed 26 per cent. of the applicants in 1969–70 and 28.6 per cent. in 1972–73 in UCCA terms, while for admissions, the proportions were 27.4 per cent. and 30.8 per cent. In terms of United Kingdom totals, the admissions were 28.3 per cent. and 31.3 per cent. The point is that a higher proportion of women applicants were admitted than in the case of men applicants.