Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent have been awarded funding to establish Kent and Medway's first-ever medical school. The Government and funding body Health Education England confirmed on 20 March that the universities’ joint bid, which was submitted in November 2017, had been given the green light.
The Kent and Medway Medical School will bring together the existing centres of excellence in health and medical education provided by both universities, and local healthcare organisations, to offer a new model of patient-focused medical education. It will offer 100 undergraduate places annually in a centre for first-class medical education with five-year undergraduate programmes in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. The school will also develop high-quality research to find evidence-based solutions to promote health, address local challenges and reduce inequalities in provision across the county.
The new medical school will collaborate with local education networks to inspire new entrants to the medical profession and work closely with regional authorities so that collaborative teams are embedded within local NHS providers and can lead and transform healthcare delivery. As part of this collaboration, there will be early clinical placements within community healthcare organisations, such as GP surgeries, pharmacies and local care centres.
Kent and Medway Medical School is one of five new medical schools to be created in England as part of the Government's expansion of training places and will be an essential part of the solution for recruiting and retaining medical professionals for the region. Kent and Medway currently suffer from a shortfall of qualified doctors and the school will help ease the recruitment challenges faced by healthcare providers by developing doctors in specialties that are currently underrepresented in the region.
The bid has received widespread support from the region’s MPs, local councillors, NHS Trust chief executives and medical directors, as well as other health and education-related organisations. It was also supported by Brighton and Sussex Medical School, which will act as the ‘parent institution’ – one of the requirements of the General Medical Council as a new medical school is established.
Responding to news of the successful bid, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Canterbury Christ Church University, and Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Kent, said: “We are delighted that our joint bid for establishing Kent and Medway's first medical school has been successful.
“Our ambition is to develop a school that will become a beacon for first-class medical education and research, and the first choice for all those aspiring to achieve excellence in person-centred medical care in the UK. We remain confident that, by providing distinctive, socially diverse and insightful graduates, the Kent and Medway Medical School will enable, influence and drive changes within the clinical workforce to deliver high-quality healthcare across the region.”
The medical school will welcome its first students in 2020, and the universities will consult with key stakeholders and work with regional NHS partners and healthcare organisations to shape the design of the school and its degree programmes.
You can read the full press release on the Kent and Medway Medical School here.