The University of St. Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill Fairer Scotland Duty: Assessment not required declaration
University of St. Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill
Directorate: Division: team
Directorate for Health Workforce, Leadership and Service Reform
University of St Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill Team
Policy lead responsible for taking the decision
Carmen Murray, Bill Team Leader
Rationale for decision
The Bill makes a technical amendment to the Universities (Scotland) Act 1966 ("the 1966 Act"), by repealing paragraph 17 of schedule 6 (transfer of property, etc. to University of Dundee and other transitional provisions - abolition of qualifying examinations and degrees in medicine etc. in the University of St. Andrews).
The 1966 Act currently prohibits the University of St. Andrews ("the University") from awarding medical and dentistry degrees. The policy objective of this Bill is to remove the prohibition as it is unfair, anti-competitive and serves no legitimate purpose in today's context. The impetus for removing the prohibition at this time is to enable the University to award, jointly with the University of Dundee, undergraduate Primary UK Medical Qualifications (PMQ) to Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) MBChB students. In removing the prohibition, the Bill also creates a fairer higher education sector and enables all of Scotland's valued institutions to maximise the options and opportunities they offer to students in Scotland.
The Bill does not provide for new policy or revise existing policy and is technical in nature. It provides for a repeal of a legislative prohibition which currently prevents the University from awarding degrees in medicine and dentistry. It will impact on ScotGEM students and the Universities of St. Andrews and Dundee to the extent that it will enable a PMQ degree to be awarded to ScotGEM students by both institutions rather than by the University of Dundee alone. Those Universities that currently offer degrees in medicine and dentistry, as well as all other higher education institutions in Scotland, will be impacted indirectly given that one of their potential competitors will no longer be subject to an additional caveat requiring legislative change should it be successful in any future competitive commissioning process for a new medical or dentistry degree provider.
As the Bill does not impact on other students or the higher education sector more widely the Bill does not represent a strategic decision.
It is acknowledged, however, that people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are under-represented in medical degree programmes, as well as the medical profession. The Scottish Government has put in place widening access measures and policies to diversify the future medical workforce, which applies equally to all higher education institutions. For example, in 2017 a pre-medical entry programme was announced which aims to provide young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine. Widening access matters are, however, beyond the scope of the Bill and will not be addressed or altered by its provisions.
An assessment under the Fairer Scotland Duty is not required because the Bill does not represent a strategic decision, and its provisions should not have any direct implications for inequalities arising from socio-economic disadvantage.
I confirm that the decision to not carry out a Fairer Scotland assessment has been authorised by:
Name and job title of Deputy Director (or equivalent)
Deputy Director of Health Workforce
Date authorisation given
24 September 2020