A straight-A aspiring doctor who took a year out to gain work experience in a hospital has been forced to move to Italy to enrol on a medicine degree after he was unable to find a place to study in the UK.
Harry Phillips, a 19-year-old from Oswestry in Shropshire, was continually rejected from universities, without even so much as an interview.
"This is a harsh reality faced by many young and academically capable students," he told the Shropshire Star. "The number of placements at UK universities continues its failure to meet demand, and provide the adequate number of doctors which the NHS and our GP services desperately need. The shortfall is made up by foreign recruitment."
In September, Phillips sat the IMAT aptitude test for a medicine and surgery course offered by several institutions in Italy.
"It was a drastic option, yet one I felt forced to take," he explained.
Phillips came 110th out of 3,500 candidates, and secured a place at the University of Pavia, just south of Milan, which charges a meagre £2,585 a year compared to the hefty £9,000 many UK institutions ask for.
Phillips added: "It’s a squeeze on my family, but nothing like the tens of thousands of dollars they would charge in the USA, and I will graduate without the life-sized debt many in the UK will have from the Student Loans Company.
"Happy as I am to be back on my career path these circumstances are far from ideal, as I would give anything to be a student in the country I was born in, raised in and love."