Published: 15:41, 08 July 2020
| Updated: 10:48, 10 July 2020
The county's first ever medical school is due to open in Canterbury this September, complete with a 2,500 sqm new building which has been constructed to house a 150-seat lecture theatre.
Dover District Council (DDC) has agreed to support a local pupil from a disadvantaged background.
From 2021 to 2026, the authority will pay £5,000 each year to help cover costs, including rent, books, travel and equipment over the five years.
Cllr Trevor Bartlett (Con), Dover council's leader, said: “By offering this financial support we are enabling a talented student to fulfil their ambition of becoming a doctor."
Professor Chris Holland, the founding dean of the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), said: "This scholarship is another wonderful sign of the commitment our community has to supporting improvement in healthcare across the region.”
It is hoped the £52 million medical school - which is a joint venture between the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church - will help to tackle the "acute shortage" of doctors in the region and significant problems in healthcare recruitment, especially GPs.
However, Kent has some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England and the new school is aiming to have 22% of its entire cohort come from families with low-income backgrounds.
A placement will be granted to a youngster who will be the first in their family to go to university or to become a doctor to qualify for this grant.
They must provide evidence of financial hardship and how they have helped the local community.
Under the school's scheme, priority will be given to candidates living in Dover followed by other East Kent areas, including Thanet, Folkestone and Canterbury, and other county towns.
A Dover council paper published to the authority's cabinet last week stated: "If DDC do support the project this would be recognised on the KMMS Donor Board, with a named scholarship for five years."
Dover council's seven-person cabinet unanimously backed the move during a virtual public meeting on Monday morning.
After the meeting, the former Dover mayor Kevin Mills (Lab), who is also the main opposition leader, said: "We have seen how important doctors are to society during the coronavirus crisis. This is a great idea and I wholeheartedly support this."
The medical school, which received over 1,500 applications for its first batch of entrants this September, says it aims to train aspiring doctors to deliver 21st century medicine.
More by this authorCiaran Duggan, local democracy reporter
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