That is according to Labour’s former health secretary Alan Milburn, who is leading an independent review on social mobility.
In his soon-to-be-published report, he is expected to say that medicine and other professions have failed to make significant progress in boosting the social diversity of their members.
Among his recommendations, Mr Milburn will urge teaching hospitals to do more to open up work experience to less well-off teenagers, as well as calling on them to actively select students with poorer grades to study medicine.
He will also propose that the NHS develop a standardised procedure for giving teenagers from all backgrounds work experience in hospitals.
In an interview with the Guardian ahead of the report’s publication, Mr Milburn said: “With medicine and with too many other professions, I see no great galvanising effort to change.
“It is deeply regrettable since medicine has made such great progress in diversifying its intake in terms of race and gender. The medical profession knows what it needs to do, but frankly it is not doing it.”
The report will also disclose that, ten years ago, 62 per cent of all new medical students came from the top three socio-economic groups, while just seven per cent came from the bottom three socio-economic groups.
By 2010-11, the proportion drawn from the top three groups had declined to 57 per cent. But the bottom three groups still remain stuck at seven per cent of the new intake.
The legal profession has made bigger strides towards greater inclusion of those from poorer backgrounds, the report will say, while figures for the media industry were unavailable.
“The whole furore over tuition fees created a sense that for some families getting their kid to university is now unaffordable and unobtainable,” the social mobility tsar added.
“That message unfortunately is now part of the country’s DNA. The government needs to do far, far more to correct that impression and in particular targeting that message that grants are available for kids from less well off backgrounds. It has to be targetted into the communities that need to hear it most.”