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700 Medical Students Join New Society to Debate Future of Health Care

‘Young Civitas for Medics’, a new society founded by medical students for medical students, is formally launched today with the help of the independent social policy think-tank Civitas.

Young Civitas for Medics ( aims to plug a gap in the medical curriculum by providing an open and impartial arena for students to learn how the NHS works and debate the future of health policy.

Professor Parveen Kumar, President of YCfM and author of the bestselling medical textbookClinical Medicine, said:

‘I have always been unhappy about the knowledge medical students have of the NHS. We often rely on enlightened tutors giving students informal chats about their future working lives within the health service. It’s refreshing now to see the lead being taken by students themselves.’


In its latest guidelines, the GMC requires medical students to ‘discuss the principles underlying the development of health and health service policy, including issues relating to health economics and equity, and clinical guidelines’ (p.17, ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’).

Very few medical schools have programmes to support this. Through a series of high-profile events and networking opportunities, YCfM will start to correct this balance by bringing medical students into the world of health policy.

Grace Li, a medical student at Oxford University Medical School, and member of YCfM’s steering committee, said:

‘Having taken a year out to study health policy, I realise that when medical students graduate and start work in the NHS they often have very little understanding about how the organisation works and what their working lives will involve.

‘Knowledge of medicine without knowledge of this will not be enough for tomorrow’s doctors to be able to lead and deliver the highest quality health care to patients.’


YCfM’s steering committee was formed just three months ago and is supported by a network of student representatives from medical schools across the country. In little over a month of advertising, YCfM now has over 700 active members. Three hundred are attending our inaugural event this week.

James Gubb, director of the health unit at Civitas and member of YCfM’s steering committee said:

‘Clinicians and managers have often said to me that medical students have barely any knowledge of the NHS. No other corporate body would allow such a gap in the education of their future workforce. The uptake and enthusiasm for YCfM confirms students’ appetite to find out more, both about the NHS and about other health systems.

‘Medical students are the future of medicine in this country. We should be equipping them with all the tools they need to do their jobs as well as possible, as early as possible. We hope that YCfM will play a part in this.’


For more information contact James Gubb on: 020 7799 6677 / 079 3024 3570

Notes for Editors

i. Young Civitas for Medics is an independent society run by medical students for medical students that accepts no funding from the state either directly or indirectly. It exists to educate and provide a forum for discussion. It will not lobby, nor produce position papers. It is strictly apolitical and has no affiliations to any political party.

ii. Young Civitas for Medics is supported by the independent social-policy think-tank,Civitas. However it has a separate identity and integrity as an independent group of medical students, and therefore its members do not necessarily endorse the views of Civitas.

iii.YCfM’s inaugural event, ‘A Crash Course in the NHS’, will be held this week at the Royal Society of Medicine, where Professor Julian Le Grand, former adviser to Tony Blair, and Professor Martin Marshall, former deputy CMO, will speak.


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