The General Medical Council has given the go ahead to recruit the first medical students to study at the Three Counties Medical School at the University of Worcester. Applications for the graduate entry medical school will open next month for entry in September 2022.
The new medical school will make a major contribution to tackling the shortage of medical doctors in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and beyond. The news has been warmly welcomed by NHS chiefs and political leaders.
Professor David Green CBE DL, the University of Worcester’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: “We have been working to create the foundations for a medical school to serve the region for over four years now. The team have done a wonderful job as have our contingent partner Swansea University Medical School.
“The General Medical Council quite rightly scrutinise the training of medical doctors with laser precision. We are delighted that we have passed their tests and may now proceed to select and admit the first cohort of students. We will do our very best to ensure that very well educated, high quality doctors graduate in sufficient numbers over the years ahead to turn the shortages of medical staff in the region into history.”
The University of Worcester already educates nurses, midwives and other vital health professionals. Worcester has just been shortlisted for a record 7th time in England as Pre-Registration Nurse Education Provider of the Year. Last year Worcester received the largest allocation of additional places for health professional students in the UK.
It is now educating an additional 478 nurses, midwives, paramedics, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Building work to transform the former Worcester News building and print factory into a new Centre for Health and Medical Education is well underway.
Simon Trickett, Chief Executive of the Integrated Care System and Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG, representing local NHS organisations, said:
“This is fantastic news and a huge development for our local health and care system. The University already play a key role in helping local NHS organisations to be able to attract the range of skilled and qualified health and care professionals that we need to deliver local services.”
“The Medical School is a very important addition to that work and it is a development that we have supported right from the beginning because it was clear what a huge contribution it could make towards helping us to further improve the recruitment of doctors right across our services.”
Sarah Dugan, Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the GMC has authorised the University of Worcester to accept medical students from Sept 2022. This is fantastic news for our NHS services as it will inspire students to train and work locally as part of a strong clinical team. We are particularly excited by the core focus of this programme on mental health and well-being, community health and primary care and its emphasis on multidisciplinary teaching. We will continue to work closely with University colleagues over the next year to make this a very exciting reality”.
Glen Burley, Chief Executive of Wye Valley, South Warwickshire NHS FT and George Eliot NHS Trusts, said: “I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone in the creation of a local medical school. We have some excellent clinicians in our local NHS and we all very much look forward to helping to train an even stronger cohort of future doctors within Herefordshire.”
Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair of Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is really positive news for healthcare in Gloucestershire. The development should provide an excellent learning environment and boost partnership efforts to train highly skilled doctors for the benefit of our patients, particularly across the three counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
The local NHS has a huge amount to offer and we have high hopes that those attending the Three Counties Medical School will remain in the area and develop their careers in all parts of the service. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in getting the project to this advanced stage.”
Robin Walker, MP for Worcester and an experienced Government Minister, said: “I am immensely proud that we will soon be able to welcome Medicine students to Worcester where they will receive the highest quality training to become the doctors of the future. This facility will bolster healthcare provision in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, and indeed the whole country.
“I know that a great deal of work has gone into creating the outstanding setting required to receive approval for the school from the General Medical Council, and I have been delighted to support that work throughout.”
Mr. Walker is now leading a campaign, which is strongly supported by local MPs, for funded places to enable UK students to study at the Three Counties Medical School as soon as possible.
The newly appointed Founding Dean of the Three Counties Medical School, Professor Sandra Nicholson, said:
“I am delighted that the General Medical Council has approved Worcester’s plans to open the Three Counties Medical School from September 2022. I congratulate the team who have worked extremely hard and effectively to achieve this result. I am excited to join the University in November to continue working with our partners to ensure we provide a medical student education and experience second to none.”
Professor Nicholson, a GP, is one of the country’s foremost medical educators. She is the national chair of the Association for the Study of Medical Education and is Professor of Medical Education at one of Britain’s most prestigious medical schools – Barts and the London School of Dentistry and Medicine, where she is Head of the Centre for Medical Education and leads on quality assurance.