How do the post-graduation outcomes of students from gateway courses compare to those from standard entry medicine courses at the same medical schools?

BMC Med Educ. 2023 May 2;23(1):298. doi: 10.1186/s12909-023-04179-3.


Background: Widening participation (WP) for underrepresented students through six-year gateway courses helps to widen the demographic representation of doctors in the UK. 'Most students from gateway courses graduate, even though many enter with lower grades than standard entry medicine students.' This study aims to compare the graduate outcomes of gateway and SEM cohorts from the same universities.

Methods: Data from 2007-13 from the UK Medical Education Database (UKMED) were available for graduates of gateway and SEM courses at three UK medical schools. Outcome measures were passing an entry exam on the first attempt, Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) outcome and being offered a level one training position from the first application. The univariate analysis compared the two groups. Logistic regressions, predicting outcomes by course type, controlled for attainment on completion of medical school.

Results: Four thousand four hundred forty-five doctors were included in the analysis. There was no difference found in the ARCP outcome between gateway and SEM graduates. Gateway graduates were less likely to pass their first attempt at any membership exam than graduates of SEM courses (39% vs 63%). Gateway graduates were less likely to be offered a level 1 training position on their first application (75% vs 82%). Graduates of gateway courses were more likely to apply to General Practitioner (GP) training programmes than SEM graduates (56% vs 39%).

Conclusions: Gateway courses increase the diversity of backgrounds represented within the profession and importantly the number of applications to GP training. However, differences in cohort performance are shown to continue to exist in the postgraduate arena and further research is required to ascertain the reasons for this.

Keywords: Attainment; Education; Gateway; Medical; Outcomes; Postgraduate; Progression; UKMED; Widening participation.

MeSH terms

  • Educational Measurement
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Medicine*
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical*
  • United Kingdom