amisanthropichumanist submitted (and later gave me permission to publish):
Hi Dr Cranquis!
Thanks for posting that article. To be honest, the cynical part of me isn’t totally surprised.
No idea what it’s like in the states, but the sheer cost of medical school across the pond in the UK is horrendous. I’ll start at the beginning.
As someone going into Graduate Medicine (just finishing a 3 year undergrad course then starting 4 years of medicine in september) I’ve had no opportunity to build up any funds for myself and thus am somewhat strapped for cash.
But for some reason the graduate medical aptitude test (GAMSAT) is £195, with no refund or reimbursement, and no grant for those who can’t stump up this hefty sum. They’ve upped fees as well to £9000 a year (previously £3000, even more previously £0) thought the NHS have said they help out with a fair chunk of that.
Perhaps they’re using finance as another way to select candidates? Considering test scores are now very similar, everyone’s leaving university or high school/college with high grades, the only way I can see that one candidate would be different from another is in terms of who can afford to pay the most, and how much experience one has over another (the latter being mostly due to luck and knowing people in the trade).
I thought I’d share, though I’m sure you know of it already, from one mild cynic to another.
Wow, I like the way you concynicize! (That’s a mixture of “criticize”, “cynical”, and “conspiracy theory”, btw.) I am clueless about the UK’s med-school process, but I definitely have felt/still feel your financial pain. Unless I win the lottery (which I don’t play, so…), I’ll be paying off my med-school loans until I’m 55 — despite a small med-school grant + an excellent 3.25% interest rate locked-in for my loan repayment! But it sounds like in the UK, you guys are really locked-in with few financial-aid options or opportunities.
Any more opinions on this situation from my UK Cranquistadors?
Hey Dr. Cranquis, I really enjoy reading your blog (I am another reader who read all of your posts to the very beginning, but I did so about a month ago). I think you may find this article interesting, as I certainly did. Do you think it is financially easier working at an Urgent Care rather than running your own private practice? I suppose it would be, but you always have interesting responses so I’m curious as to what you think… So that’s about it! Here is the link.
Another Archive Surfer surfaces! Well since it costs me nothing to hand out titles: I dub thee k-m-a-r-i-e-the-over-hyphenated, Archive Surfer exultate, and Keeper of the E-K-G. :)
Interesting article, and not surprising to me at all. I don’t know if this makes me “financially astute,” but one of the main reasons I chose to join a healthcare-organization-owned Urgent Care straight out of residency was because it made financial sense: getting paid on a mixed salary + productivity formula, so I always have a basic guaranteed income with the chance to earn more. A private-practice physician has to pay himself — along with his staff, lenders, suppliers, start-up costs, etc… too much stress for a young husband/father who doesn’t know beans about running a business. I just show up to work on time, document and bill properly, and get a paycheck every 2 weeks. Bing bang boom, money in the bank.
I agree, most doctors are clueless about finances. I didn’t start to even think about the finances of practicing medicine until during my senior year of residency, and even then just in a vague “Oh, I guess all my chart documentation is being used by someone somewhere to determine how much the patient/patient’s insurance will be billed for this visit.” But since US med students are paid at all, and US residents just get a set
slave-wage stipend irregardless of how much work they do, there’s no system-level “meaningful” reason for a med-student/resident to learn about finances during training! Sure, there’s a few lectures/noon conferences on the topics, but hardly enough to make you business-savvy.
Anyways, that’s my comments. Hope they were worthwhile. Oh, and before I forget, this topic reminds me of thuc’s MD Salaries blog, which has excellent posts about, well, MD salaries and related financial issues. Check it out.
***Pending Cranquis-Mails: Yeah yeah, still 7 — things are hectic around here lately. But things should slow up a bit in the next week or so, and I’ll try to get cracking on those looming replies.***