The number of medical training places in 2021-22: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

1. How many more medical training places* were made available in 2021-22 when compared to previous financial years**? In 2022/23, how many medical training places have been made available?

2. Has the number of funded widening access places at medical school doubled to 120 per year? If not, what is the current number of funded widening access places at medical school?


I enclose a copy of all of the information you requested.

* it is assumed from your question that you are referring to the number of medical school places rather than medical training places i.e. postgraduate trainee doctor places. If this is incorrect please let us know.

** your first question refers to the number of available places per financial year. Medical undergraduate intakes are based on academic years i.e. August - June. Please therefore note that the table below refers to academic years as opposed to financial years.

1. Scotland’s medical undergraduate intake is set annually by the Scottish Funding Council on the basis of Scottish Government guidance. The following table shows the number of available medical school places per academic year from 2019/20 - 2022/23. Please note that the figures in bold represent intake targets as set by the Scottish Funding Council and the figures in italics represent actual intakes.

The data relating to ‘actual intakes’ is based on Management Information held by the Scottish Government and may differ from other sources.

Academic Year





No. of Places


1,038 (1,138)*

1,117 (1,210)**


* The 2020/21 intake was initially set at 1,038 by the Scottish Funding Council which represented a planned 25 place increase compared to the 2019/20 intake of 1,013. However, due to the impacts of Covid-19 on exam results, an additional 100 students met the terms of their conditional offer. The Scottish Government funded those 100 additional medical school places on a “one off” basis.

** The 2021/22 intake was set at 1,117 by the Scottish Funding Council in April 2021. This consisted of the baseline intake from 2020/21 of 1,038 plus: 10 extra Widening Access (WA) places, 32 deferrals (from 2020/21), up to 23 appeals (from 2020/21) and 14 additional places for international students (to account for 7.5% of the overall intake). The Programme for Government (PfG) of September 2021 contained a commitment to increase medical school places by at least 100 per annum over the lifetime of this Parliament, and to double the number of widening access places over the same period. Due to the continued impacts of Covid-19 on exam results, further over-recruitment took place in 2021 which resulted in an actual intake of 1,210. This largely delivered the first tranche of the PfG commitment in-year.

*** The 2022/23 intake was set at 1,317 - an increase of 200 above the 2021/22 target of 1,117 – and thus delivered the second tranche of the commitment. The actual 2022/23 intake is not yet known.

2. No, the number of WA places has not yet doubled to 120. The 2021/22 PfG committed to doubling the number of WA places to 120 over the lifetime of this Parliament. The 2022/23 Medical Undergraduate Intake of 1,317 includes 90 WA places which represents an increase of 30 places on 2021/22 WA places. This commitment remains on track to deliver 120 WA places per year by academic year 2025/26.

Note: some of the information you have requested is publicly available and can be accessed via the Scottish Funding Council website. Information regarding the 2022-23 intake can be found here.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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