Published: 00:01, 20 March 2018
| Updated: 15:31, 20 March 2018
The University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church have received funding to establish the county’s first medical school.
Health Education England today confirmed the institutions’ joint bid, which was submitted in November 2017, has been successful.
Called the Kent and Medway Medical School, it is hoped that its addition will solve the region’s problems with the recruitment and retention of hospital staff.
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In a joint statement, professors Rama Thirunamachandran and Karen Cox, the vice-chancellors of Canterbury Christ Church and Kent respectively, stated their intentions for it to contribute to improved healthcare provision across the South East.
They added: "We are delighted that our joint bid for establishing the county’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.
‘We would also like to thank all those who supported our bid. Their support and encouragement has been invaluable, and we look forward to continuing a close working relationship as we move towards delivery of this important new development for the county and region.’
Video: Karen Cox, speaking at the time of the original proposals
Kent and Medway healthcare chief, Glenn Douglas, added: “We have been clear that the region has a big problem staffing NHS posts, and this is causing significant strain on health services.
“Having a medical school locally is known to provide an essential boost to recruitment and retention.
“We want local people to seriously consider health and care as a career and the universities will now be offering an extensive range of courses, including medicine.”
The institutions applied for funding after the government pledged to create an additional 1,500 medical places by 2020.
It received significant support from the region’s MPs, local councillors and NHS Trust chief executives.
On behalf of Medway Council, Cllr David Brake Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “We welcome the news that doctors in training will soon be studying in Medway. Our local universities already provide high quality further education and the new medical school adds to the opportunities available to learn new skills in Medway.
"The new courses include medicine and will attract medical students from far and wide, and will mean that medical training will join the existing professional training programmes for social workers, nurses and allied health professionals.
“This will benefit our local health care system as more doctors will be trained and work in local GP practices. I am also pleased with the Government’s plans to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds study at the new medical school. This will help increase access to these courses for local people, benefiting Medway communities.”
The bid for the Kent and Medway Medical School was submitted in November 2017. It was the culmination of over a year’s work by both institutions in response to the Government’s commitment to fund an additional 1500 medical places by 2020.
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 (GMC) as a new medical school is established.