Policy statements

Medsin’s policy statements outline what we believe as an organisation about specific global health issues. They are decided upon by the voting members on our General Assembly, and allow members of the National Committee and network to speak out on certain issues in the name of Medsin. We are continually working to update and expand our policy statements, so if there is an issue that we don’t currently have a statement on that you feel Medsin should be standing up for, then get in touch with Lotte (Policy and Advocacy Director) on


Carbon Costing

Climate change poses a huge threat to global health, thus Medsin-UK’s events (conferences and meetings) and those of other health organisations have a duty to reduce their carbon expenditure.



Child Health

Millions of children die every year, and most of these deaths are due to preventable causes. The importance of addressing these issues was emphasized in the Millenium Development Goals (MDG), MDG4 focussed on a reduction of child mortality.

Medsin believes that efforts need to be scaled up to tackle child mortality, and that governments need to make the key issues higher on the policy agenda.



Climate Change

Climate change is extremely likely to have severe negative public health impacts through heat waves, extreme weather events and changes in communicable disease patterns. Medsin-UK believes mitigating climate change is a public health priority and is the duty of the Government and the National Health Service.



Community Health

Medsin-UK believes communities should be encouraged and supported to engage in health promotion and protection activities. Medsin-UK will therefore support projects and campaigns which aim to reduce health inequities by working with communities to improve local health promotion, protection and access to healthcare.



Drug Access Inequalities

Millions of people die every year from diseases for which a known cure exist; these deaths are in part due to lack of access to essential medicines. Medsin believes every relevant drug developed in a UK University should be made affordable in developing countries. Medsin-UK also supports the UNITAID patent pool for HIV medication, widening access to second and third line antireterovirals and improving paediatric formulations of HIV medications.



Economic Governance

Existing arrangements for global economic governance are undemocratic, non-transparent and undermine global health goals.  Institutions with major influence over the global economy like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank have promoted a narrow set of policies focused on liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation in countries across the world.Medsin-UK believes a multilateral system of global economic governance based on principles of equity, democracy and transparency is needed.



Ethical Electives

Every year, hundreds of medical students from the UK travel overseas on elective. Many choose developing countries as their destinations. While this may be beneficial to the student, the net impact may be negative for the hosting community, particularly if there are limited resources or staff. At the same time, it is prohibitively difficult for students from these countries to spend a similar period of time in the UK for a similar purpose. Medsin-UK believes that a national debate about the purpose of electives is necessary, and more rigorous standardisation of pre-departure training, objectives, and assessment of electives, in order to maximise the benefit and address the inherent inequities in this period of medical education.



Fair Medical Trade

Many medical supplies are produced in hazardous environments and use child labour exposing people to conditions that are damaging to health. Medsin-UK believes that the NHS has a responsibility to procure resources that are fairly and ethically sourced.



Global Health Education

In a world of increasing international travel and inter-connectivity UK medical students need improved global health teaching. Medsin-UK believes this will better equip new generations of UK medical professionals with an awareness and understanding of global health concerns, and help them develop essential skills for practice in the UK and beyond.



Global Health Systems Policy

A health system is significantly influenced by political and corporate activity, which can make developments towards equitable health systems difficult. Medsin believes in health systems strengthening through civil activity, through the provision of primary care, and by establishment of sustainable financing for health. These efforts to ensure universal health coverage can be achieved through global partnerships and international efforts. 



Health Education

UK universities should receive adequate funding to allow research to be conducted in global health. Medsin-UK believes this will be of benefit not only to the national UK population, but also to international populations.



Impact of International Workforce in the NHS

Migrant health care workers provide a significant contribution to the NHS yet migration is a cause of human resource shortages and health inequities in low- and middle-income countries. Medsin-UK believes the international workforce in the NHS should be supported and valued but their countries of origin should be appropriately compensated and efforts should be made to address the underlying causes of poor retention.



Maternal Health

Maternal health is a neglected issue worldwide. Globally, 358,000 women die every year in childbirth. Medsin believes that students should work to increase awareness of the issues, and work alongside key stakeholders to ensure that promises are realised.



Mental Health

Mental health problems are a global issue and up to 450 million people worldwide live with a mental health condition. The World Health Organisation reports that neuropsychiatric conditions constitute the greatest proportion (28%) of worldwide non-communicable disease burden and  the highest cause of global disability, yet treatment rates are low, especially in developing countries.  Medsin believes that integrating mental health care into both national and local policy is vital for good global community health.



Non-Communicable Diseases

Worldwide, 60% of deaths are due to Non-communicable diseases, and 80% of these are in middle-low income countries. Medsin-UK supports the UN declaration that promotes NCDs on the Global Agenda and calls for Member States to find potential funding sources for NCDs.



Open Access to Research and the Right to Research Coalition

Medical students, researchers and doctors around the world are only able to access research through expensive subscriptions, which is hindering evidence bas ed medicine and scientific progress.  Medsin-UK endorses the Student Statement on the Right to Research, thereby becoming a member of the Right to Research Coalition.



Refugees and Asylum Seekers

There is no evidence of significant levels of health tourism to the UK. Medsin-UK oppose the 2004 regulations on charging for NHS hospital care and call for it’s abolition. In addition we oppose all plans to introduce a similar charging regime in primary care.



Sex and Relationships Education

Universal access to sex and relationships education (SRE) and reliable information about sex and relationships is necessary in order to achieve sexual health, increase informed decision-making and reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Medsin-UK support universal access to SRE free from social and political pressures.



The Millennium Development Goals

Progress on the achievement of the MDGs has been poor and it is unlikely that any of the MDGs will be achieved. The MDGs were an excellent and desperately needed initiative when produced, however there is now greater recognition and understanding of global health problems. As such, Medsin-UK believes the MDGs need to be significantly updated to remain relevant and effective.



The National Health Service

Medsin-UK supports the National Health Service (NHS) as a comprehensive, high quality healthcare system. We oppose the process by which free market principles, such as competition and deregulation, are introduced to state owned organisations of the NHS and strongly believe in an NHS free at the point of use - providing for all, keeping the interest of its stakeholders first and foremost; the public.



The Pharmaceutical Industry

Direct to Consumer Advertising (DTCA) compromises evidence-based medicine, promotes over reliance on medications a nd increases healthcare costs. Medsin-UK oppose the introduction of DTCA made by the European Pharmaceutical Forum. Medsin-UK also oppose pharmaceutical industry gifts to medical students and all healthcare professionals – including food and travel – as a means of marketing by the pharmaceutical industry.



The Robin Hood Tax

Medsin-UK support the Robin Hood Tax. A 0.05% tax on inter-bank speculation, which could generate billions of pounds. This money could be spent on tackling global poverty and climate change adaptation strategies, as well as providing millions of pounds to support public services in the UK.



Tobacco Products

Tobacco use accounts for a huge number of preventable deaths worldwide, indeed it is estimated that it will soon account for six million deaths annually. We believe that innovative new methods are required to reduce the use of tobacco products both in the UK and worldwide, particularly in emerging markets of the developing world. Medsin supports the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control implementation programme.



UK Community Health

Positive community health means that our day-to-day lives are protected from preventable diseases, and that communities actively engage in protecting their own health. Medsin-UK believe action on community health issues is vital and can be achieved through health protection activities, through education, and policy.



Water and Sanitation

Medsin-UK believes a lack of access to clean and effective water and sanitation to be an abuse of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Medsin-UK supports a global framework for action by governments, donors and organisations in which water and sanitation is afforded the priority it requires and deserves.


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