Lancaster Medical School to expand

Lancaster Medical School celebratory reception 2017.
Lancaster Medical School celebratory reception 2017.
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Lancaster Medical School is to provide 60 more places as part of the biggest ever expansion of the NHS medical workforce across the UK.

This will bring the total number of available places at Lancaster for future doctors to 125 for 2019 entry.

The expansion is part of government plans to grow the number of places for medical students in the UK by 25 per cent from next year.

Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Prof Mark E. Smith said: “We welcome this official recognition of Lancaster’s work in providing medical graduates in an area which has traditionally found it hard to recruit doctors. This expansion in places follows on from our investment in the Health Innovation Campus to improve healthcare and support the regional economy.”

The extra places were allocated to existing medical schools chosen as part of a rigorous bidding process to place more medical students in areas which traditionally struggle to attract doctors, particularly rural and coastal areas.

The head of Lancaster Medical School (LMS) Dr Rachel Isba welcomed the news.

“When we set up LMS, one of the major drivers was to train and retain doctors to become colleagues for our excellent local workforce, thereby contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of local people,” she said. “Our commitment to training a community-facing workforce, our status as an established medical school, and our existing relationships across the local, national, and international healthcare communities mean that this increase in medical student numbers has the potential to make a significant contribution to health and healthcare provision in Lancashire and Cumbria.”

The government has also announced the creation of five new medical schools across the UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care asked HEFCE and Health Education England (HEE) to seek bids through a competitive process and the final allocation was approved by the Boards of HEFCE and Health Education England.

Prof Ian Cumming, chief executive, Health Education England, said: “One thousand five hundred new medical students starting by 2020 demonstrates real commitment to ensuring that we have the number of doctors we need for the NHS in the future.

“This major expansion of 25 per cent additional medical students has allowed both the creation of many new medical schools and an expansion of student numbers in existing medical schools.”

Lancaster Medical School began in 2006 with 50 students and has so far graduated more than 300 medical graduates. It was granted degree awarding powers by the General Medical Council in 2017.

Prof Neil Johnson, Dean of Lancaster University’s Faculty of Health and Medicine said: “This increase is a testament to the strengths of Lancaster Medical School - for example the strength of its teaching and the very high proportions of graduates who go on to train in specialties, such as general practice and psychiatry, where the need for more doctors is huge.

“I am delighted that all the work that staff have put in to make this such a strong and successful course has been recognised in this way.”