Author: Ben Stone, Thomas I Lemon, Rhiannon Lampard, Ashley Yarrow-Jenkins and Rupali Shah, Cardiff University

Day Two – Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Health & Well Being

Session Six: 2.45pm – 4.15pm

Economic stagnation in the UK has been a prominent issue for the last five years, leading to an increase in unemployment and subsequent population rise in lower socioeconomic classes (LSCs).

Seyan et al (2004) have previously shown LSCs are underrepresented in medical schools. Their study was carried out in economic prosperity. The authors investigated whether this was reversed in times of economic depravity.

Adaptation theory applied to this suggests the adolescents representing LSCs will acclimatise to the economic stressor by seeking more financially stable careers, such as medicine. Consequently, doctors from LSCs will increase. Hence, drawing from the Becker and Maiman ‘Health Belief Model’, ‘Ideas, Concerns and Expectations’ (ICE) elicited in medical consultation will be more relatable to both the doctor and the patient. ICE is linked to compliance, and hence health outcomes will improve.

Through theoretical and literature review prior correlations between LSCs representation in medical schools and economic status of the country were investigated.  Furthermore, current UK medical students were polled through an online community revealing 19% of students were from LSCs.

The authors argue that medical graduates will be increasingly able to understand the issues their patients present with due to increased sourcing from LSCs. Patients will benefit from doctors who consider certain issues differently. Healthcare system benefit is increased patient compliance and hence reduced long term cost. Thus, from an economic negative comes a health positive.

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