Published: 00:01, 04 January 2019
Bold plans to build Kent's first medical school in Canterbury have been revealed - with bosses hoping the city can become a beacon for world-class healthcare training.
The vision - which bagged government funding last March - is a joint project between the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.
Education and medical chiefs developed the proposals throughout 2018, before drawing up detailed plans for a state-of-the-art 'hybrid powered' school.
Called the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), it is hoped the project will play an essential role in rectifying the region's problem with the recruiting and retaining hospital staff.
If given the go-ahead, the 2,500sqm building will be erected in Park Wood Road on the city's University of Kent campus.
Planned for completion in August 2020, the school will offer five-year undergraduate programmes, resulting in joint degrees from both institutions in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.
Supported by Brighton and Sussex Medical School as a 'parent partner' institution, a total of 150 student places will be available at Canterbury to begin with, before increasing to 300.
The scheme, which will result in the loss of 14 trees during construction, has gained significant support from MPs, councillors and NHS Trust chief executives.
"The universities' ambition is to develop a school that will become a beacon for first class medical education and research" - planning statement compiled by project agent Savills
The proposed three-storey building at the University of Kent, which will boast a 150-seat lecture theatre and a number of seminar rooms, will supply the school’s general teaching facilities where students will focus on patient-centred care.
Specialist practical teaching facilities will then be accommodated at the CCCU campus in a new Science & Engineering complex which is currently under construction.
A planning statement compiled by project agent Savills, which says the level of teaching will be world-class, reads: “The universities’ ambition is to develop a school that will become a beacon for first class medical education and research and the first choice for those aspiring to achieve excellence in person-centred medical care in the UK.
“By providing distinctive, socially diverse and insightful graduates, the school will enable, influence and drive changes within the clinical workforce to deliver high quality healthcare and will also be an essential part of the solution for recruiting and retaining medical professionals in Kent.”
Project bosses hope the application will be given the green light by Canterbury City Council before the end of March, so that the proposed summer 2020 launch date can be achieved.