Published: 06:00, 15 August 2020
The “game-changing” Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) is preparing to take on its very first students next month.
A joint venture between the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, the finishing touches are now being added to the new facilities in the city.
Bosses say the school will be “a beacon for first class medical education and research”, and the first choice for all those aspiring to achieve excellence in medical care in the UK.
Once qualified, it is hoped many of the new young doctors will continue to work in Kent as they start their careers in healthcare.
Students will study at two state-of-the-art facilities - one on either campus. Despite lockdown, construction work has continued at both sites in order to reach this autumn’s opening date.
The tuition is planned to be very patient-led, with students learning how to build relationships and inter-personal skills.
During their studies they will have hands-on experience with placements in primary, community, mental health and secondary care settings across the county.
At a recent virtual meeting, the General Medical Council (GMC) confirmed KMMS is meeting the required standards and can bring in its first students next month.
Professor Chris Holland, the founding Dean of the school, says the feedback is a major milestone.
“The GMC’s feedback is a great endorsement of all the work that has been done by my colleagues at KMMS and those at the universities,” he said.
“To have achieved this while we have all been working remotely and during the Covid-19 pandemic is wonderful.”
The medical school, which is partnered with another in Brighton, will offer 100 places a year for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery five-year degree courses.
Dr Tim Newson, who will be working at the institution, said: “KMMS is a game-changer for healthcare in Kent.
“Its ethos as a beacon of excellence in patient centred innovative healthcare, will be transformative. An exciting era.”
This September, 100 students will be welcomed as the inaugural batch of young doctors to be taught at the school.
Manfred Gschwandtner, who will be a librarian for the new project, said: “I decided to work for KMMS because as a medical librarian I’d never ever have the opportunity again to build a new medical library at a new medical school from scratch - that’s unique and it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“It also gives me the opportunity to work with a very creative group of people.”
The project has fuelled optimism from those wanting a new, updated hospital to be built at Kent & Canterbury. They believe having the city as a centre for medical tuition further highlights the need to centralise east Kent health services in Canterbury.