The government and Health Education England (HEE) have announced that a joint bid by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University for funded places to establish a medical school has been successful.
It will be the county’s first ever medical school, bringing together the existing centres of excellence in health and medical education provided by the two universities and local healthcare organisations to offer a new model of patient-focused medical education.
The medical school will also be an essential part of the solution for recruiting and retaining medical professionals for the region.
Prof Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor and principal of Canterbury Christ Church University, and prof Karen Cox, vice-chancellor and president of the University of Kent said: "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."
Glenn Douglas, chief executive of Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, added: "We are delighted with this announcement. We have been clear that Kent and Medway have a big problem staffing NHS posts, and this is causing significant strain on health services. We have been fully in support of the bid from our two universities for a medical school.
"Having a medical school locally is known to provide an essential boost to recruitment and retention and we know this is vital, particularly in our coastal areas. We want people in Kent and Medway to seriously consider health and care as a career, and the universities will now be offering an extensive range of courses – including medicine – within our region."
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 received significant support from the region’s MPs, local councillors, NHS Trust chief executives and medical directors, as well as other health and education related organisations, all of whom expressed their backing for the bid.
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.
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