[Press & Publications] MASSIVE MEDICAL BOOST FOR MIDLANDS



UK'S FIRST 'FAST-TRACK' MEDICAL DEGREE WINS APPROVAL

Photograph

Today's Government go-ahead for the creation of a major new Joint Medical School in the Midlands links two leading universities - Leicester and Warwick - in an innovative partnership that will educate more than 1,300 medical students each year, and enhance significantly the standard of health care available to patients in Coventry, Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

In today's announcement the Government has given Leicester and Warwick the largest number of new medical students awarded to any university: an extra intake of 113 students each year that will grow to a population of 450 in four years. These will join the existing 850 students at the Leicester Medical School where the annual intake is 175.

Local health care, especially in Coventry and Warwickshire through the new provisions at Warwick, will significantly benefit as a large proportion of newly qualifying doctors take up posts close to where they are educated. The combined, complementary research strengths of Leicester and Warwick Universities will also attract some of the country's leading medical researchers.

Of the 1300 students in the new Joint Medical School, the 450 at Warwick will follow the UK's first 'fast-track' medical curriculum to be approved by the General Medical Council - available to graduate-entry students only. The new students, all graduates in the life sciences, will study an accelerated four-year medical degree which will greatly help the national demand for more doctors.

The announcement is part of a Government programme which today has allocated an extra intake of 684 medical student places throughout the country. The Leicester-Warwick proposal was one of 20 bids made to the Government and has received 17% of all the new medical places created.

Dr Kenneth Edwards, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said:

"This is wonderful news. The two universities will work closely together to ensure that the Joint Medical School enhances medical teaching, research and service to the local communities."

Professor Sir Brian Follett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said:

"This is terrific news creating, almost overnight, an internationally sized and ranked medical school which will directly benefit the people of Coventry, Warwickshire and Leicestershire. It has been our aim for 25 years to bring a medical school to Warwick."

Professor Frank Harris, Dean of the new Joint Medical School, said:

"This is a formal and genuine alliance. The two universities bring complementary strengths to the Joint Medical School which will generate synergy in teaching and research."

The new Joint Medical School has received strong support from all the regional arms of the local NHS, the local Health Authorities, and the main Hospital Trusts in which the new students will train - at Leicester and the Walsgrave Hospitals NHS Trust in Coventry.

For further details contact:

Ather Mirza, Director of Press and Publications, University of Leicester, Tel: 0116 252 3335, Email: pressoffice@le.ac.uk.

Peter Dunn, Press Officer, University of Warwick, Tel: 01203 523708, Email: puapjd@admin.warwick.ac.uk.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

'FAST-TRACK'

The Joint Medical School will have a total intake of 303 students each year. It will deliver the first 'fast-track' medical education in the UK to be approved by the General Medical Council. Normally, it takes five years for medical students to be educated and this will remain the case for students at Leicester. The new 113 places are for graduates of the life sciences who will complete the degree within four years.

COMMUNITY BENEFITS

The Joint Medical School will enhance significantly the standard of care for deprived parts of both Coventry and Warwickshire, as the Leicester Medical School has already done in Leicestershire. Many medical graduates tend to stay in the region and high-ranking medical professionals are attracted to hospitals linked to medical schools. The most significant overall benefit of the Joint Medical School will be an uplift of healthcare provision in Coventry and in Warwickshire. The most obvious effect will be seen through the enhancement of the Walsgrave Hospitals NHS Trust to a University Teaching Hospital, but the Joint Medical School will also improve the quality of healthcare through a number of multi-professional community health centres. These will be based on the successful Prince Philip House model now running in Leicester. These centres, which bring together community, medical and social services, will be based in the most needy areas of Coventry and of Warwickshire. They will allow people from the poorest, most disenfranchised sections of the local population access to healthcare professionals and high quality facilities.

WIDENING PARTICIPATION

The Joint Medical School allows for wider participation in medical education for those who possess mature study skills and for people from wide background experiences. A substantial number of graduates of the social sciences and the humanities will be recruited to the five-year programme at Leicester. The School will demonstrate an active commitment to the admission of students from a broad range of social and ethnic backgrounds to reflect the patterns of population which are served by the NHS.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

The two universities bring complementary strengths to the Joint Medical School which will generate synergy in teaching and research. Leicester has world class achievements in the Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences, not least the discovery of DNA Genetic Fingerprinting. The Medical School at Leicester has recently achieved a score of 23 out of 24 - or an equivalent of Excellent - in independent assessments carried out by the quality Assurance Agency and has received very favourable assessments from the General Medical Council. The Faculty houses departments that are 5* and 5 rated in the Research Assessment Exercise. Warwick's position in the top half dozen universities in Britain for all four research-rating exercises is testament to its overall research strength. The science and social sciences are particularly strong at Warwick.

PARTNERSHIP APPROACH

New state of the art facilities will be developed to allow for the increased intake of the new Joint Medical School. There will be new staff appointments and the development will take place in the context of the Walsgrave Trust's recently approved 174m Private Finance Initiative.

The new Joint Medical School has received strong support from the local NHS, including the Trent and West Midlands Regional Offices of the NHS Executive, the local Health Authorities, and the main Hospital Trusts in which the new students will train - at Leicester and the Walsgrave Hospitals NHS Trust in Coventry.

DEMAND FOR DOCTORS

The Joint Medical School will develop new doctors who are equipped to meet the challenges of changing health and health care needs of patients and populations into the first half of the 21st century. The School will create significantly more medical student placements in a region of over 2 million people and will thus increase the output of doctors relative to the size of population. This will counteract difficulties in the recruitment and retention of doctors at all levels.

FACT FILE

University of Leicester Medical School established in 1975

Currently educates 850 medical students a year. New Joint Medical School will educate 1300 students

University of Leicester Medical School recently gained 23 out of 24 points in the Teaching Quality Assessment carried by the Quality Assurance Agency

New Joint Medical School is a partnership between Leicester and Warwick universities

It includes the first 'fast-track' medical education system in the UK to be approved by the General Medical Council

It will lead to significant health gains in Leicestershire and Warwickshire

It will enable medical research to be carried out at the highest international standards bringing benefits in diverse medical field

It will help counter the national shortfall in the supply of doctors.

[photograph]
(left to right:) Professor Sir Brian Follett, Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick; Dr Kenneth Edwards, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester; Professor Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor Elect, University of Leicester


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Last updated: 22 June 1999 16:16
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