The MP for Angus has been told the SNP should reverse a “discriminatory” policy that will stop medical students coming to Scotland from the rest of the UK.
It has emerged Scottish universities will be instructed to accept 100 fewer undergraduates from England and Wales each year, with their places going to Scots.
Scottish Conservative MP Kirstene Hair questioned the SNP government’s judgement in doing so in the Commons on Tuesday, as it could ward the “best and the brightest” from coming to study in Scotland.
She was told by UK health secretary Matt Hancock he “doubts the policy will last”.
Ms Hair said:
“As the Secretary of State may be aware, earlier this month—conveniently in the Holyrood recess—we learned that medical students who come from the rest of the United Kingdom and want to apply for an undergraduate course at Scottish universities will find their chances greatly diminished.
“Most Scots are appalled by this policy.
“In fact, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and medical schools are all expressing concern.
“Does the Secretary of State agree that the Scottish Government need to be attracting the brightest and the best—no matter where they come from across the United Kingdom—to address the GP crisis?”
Mr Hancock said:
“I was surprised by the recent news that I read about medical schools in Scotland being told to discriminate against medical students from elsewhere in the UK.
“I understand that the Scottish National Party itself accepts that this is discriminatory.
“I doubt that the policy will last and I look forward to an SNP U-turn.”
Scottish figures earlier this month showed almost one in five GP training posts are unfilled, which the British Medical Association described as a “huge gap”.