Double cohort: medical students inter-university committee worried

Free University of Brussels

The deans of the faculties of medicine for UCL (Leuven Catholic University (UCL), Free University of Brussels (ULB) and University of Liège (ULg) wrote to the Prime Minister, Charles Michel.

Like them, the Inter-university Committee for Medical Students (“the CIUM”) is worried about the future of medical students who finish their basic training (master’s degree) in June 2018.

At that time, following the reduction in the length of study (from 7 and 6 years) which was implemented in 2012, two “cohorts” (the previous one trained in seven years and the top cohort trained in six) will reach the end of their master’s degree at the same time.

This “double cohort” represents some 2,000 students in the Brusssels-Wallonia Federation. They will all be choosing a specialist medical field (whether it be general practice, cardiology, paediatrics or another field). This poses a worrying issue. With the lack of financial means, there will not sufficient numbers of quality training places for all students looking to specialise at that point.

Quentin Lamelyn, the President of the CIUM rages in a communiqué, “2,000 students who have undertaken seven or six years of medical studies, seven or six years of insane exams, university fees, rents and sacrifices.”

He adds, “It is a situation which is all the more unacceptable since the profession has been aware of the issue for several years. Yet up to now no concrete steps have been taken to prepare for the arrival of this double cohort looking for such roles.”

The CIUM warms, “Just like our elders, we are enjoining the political world to face up to its responsibilities and to secure the future of all of these students. We must always remember that they are not even certain of having the possibility to practice curative medicine – their ultimate goal. Without any clear message from the responsible ministers in the next few weeks, we must anticipate large student protests.”

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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