The General Medical Council (GMC) which oversees the training of doctors in the UK is set to approve a new course at Chester Medical School, developed with the support of the University of Warwick, which will see it producing doctors to help transform health care across Cheshire, Wirral, Shropshire and beyond.
The new medical students will start at the University of Chester in September 2022. Student doctors at Chester will follow a four-year graduate entry programme, based on the highly successful Warwick Medical School course, with which Chester has been working for many years.
There is a significant shortage of doctors in the UK, particularly in specialties such as General Practice, psychiatry, emergency medicine and care of the elderly. The North of England has one of the lowest number of GPs per patient in the UK with only 49 GPs per 100,000 patients in the Cheshire region (one GP per 2,000). Despite this, the UK trains fewer medical students and doctors than most countries in Europe, which is where Chester Medical School will play a vital role.
Hospitals and GP surgeries are currently relying on short-term temporary staff to fill vacancies, and Post COVID-19 waiting lists have increased with need for more staff to bring them down.
This need was underlined at Chester Medical School’s recent stakeholder event -áMedical Education and Training in a Post-pandemic World.áProfessor Goddard, President of Royal College of Physicians of London, stated that the UK needed to double the number of medical students in order to meet the demand for more doctors. At the meeting, Professor Simon Constable, Chief Executive of Warrington and Halton NHS Foundation Trust, also outlined the particular difficulties in recruitment and retention of doctors in the region.
Professor Sudhesh Kumar OBE, Dean of Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, said: "We are absolutely delighted to see our partnership with the University of Chester to establish a new medical school in Chester come to fruition at long last. This success owes thanks to the skill and determination of colleagues at both universities who brought our shared vision into being, and is a testament to our institutions’ commitment to excellence in the training of tomorrow’s doctors.
"As we face some of the biggest public health challenges of recent times, our communities are relying on highly competent, motivated and, above-all, compassionate doctors to support their health and wellbeing. We take great pride in the knowledge that a new cohort of aspiring medics will experience the opportunities and benefits of the world-class medical curriculum developed by expertise at Warwick Medical School, and that even more patients are set to benefit from it."
Describing the exciting vision for Chester Medical School to train the doctors our communities need for the future, Professor John Alcolado, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Chester, said: "Chester Medical School will be firmly rooted in the local community, aiming to train people locally to stay and work locally.
"Our graduates will be noted for their kindness, scientific knowledge, practical skills, and competency. They will be fit for purpose, meeting the expectations of the public and employers, patient-centred, and innovative, equipped to make full use of emerging technologies.
"The medical school will be built on the strong founding principles and ethos of the University of Chester, which include service to the community, compassion, and the education and training of those with a vocation, including teachers and healthcare professionals."