Why are medical school places available via clearing?

Published on: 30 Aug 2016


St George’s Medical School caused a minor storm when it advertised places for its 2016/17 medicine course through clearing.

St George’s said it was the first time it had done this, prompting GP and junior doctors’ leaders to claim it was a sign talented students were being put off medical school.

Former BMA Junior Doctors Committee chair Dr Johann Malawana told Pulse: ‘I cannot remember places being offered through clearing. It is a sad indictment on how poorly this Government has managed the NHS.’

The Medical Schools Council said it was not aware of earlier examples of places offered via clearing.

But some Pulse commenters claimed they got into medical school in this way, while UCAS said a handful of places had been offered before. As for St George’s, it claimed it was ‘not because of falling applications’ but the ‘unpredictability’ of A-level grades.

Whatever the truth, these are changing times for med school applications.