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Business & Economy

The University of Sunderland announces the opening of its School of Medicine

University of Sunderland has been successful in its bid to open a new medical school. The Government’s Department of Health and Social Care announced today that the first cohort of students will join the University in September next year

Sunderland is one of only five new medical schools, established to address the regional imbalance of medical education places across England and to widen access to ensure the profession reflects the communities it serves.

With a track-record of excellence in medical education spanning almost 100 years the University is now well-placed to address the chronic shortage of doctors in the North East. Focusing on GP and Psychiatric training the new programme will complement existing medical provision in the region and add to the diversity of medical schools in the UK.

The Vice-Chancellor, Shirley Atkinson, is delighted with the outcome: “Our bid presented a compelling case for an innovative medical school for those with talent and who present the requisite medical school entry requirements, regardless of their background and social status. We will provide accessible medical education training for a new generation of doctors, recruited from the communities in which they live and where they will eventually practice.”

“Our bid was backed unreservedly by our NHS partners and clinicians and we are also working closely with the City Council to provide an environment and a range of new amenities to retain young doctors in the region to halt the disappointing drift south of many newly qualified medics.”

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of City Hospitals Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trusts, who fully supported the University’s ambition to open a new Medical School, added: “This development will build upon Sunderland’s proven success in medical sciences and nursing education and will help address the medical inequalities in the North East. I am not surprised that the University was successful, it was an outstanding bid and Sunderland will also widen the social profile of medical school entrants.”

Professor Scott Wilkes, Head of School of Medicine and Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at Sunderland, was also delighted with the outcome: “Our specialisms will address the well-publicised need for more GPs and Psychiatric specialists. This will complement existing provision in the region.

“Our programme will incorporate multi-professional learning and extensive exposure to real-life clinical settings and through our own simulation suites located at our own state of the art Living Lab”.

John Mowbray, Chair of the University’s Board of Governors, said: “This is an exciting development for our University and the region. Recruiting local students who will eventually practice in their own neighbourhoods is good for improving health and wellbeing in hard to reach communities. I am immensely proud of the teams within the University who have brought this ambition to fruition, and very grateful to the many health commissioners, practitioners and clinicians across the region who supported our bid.”

Sunderland’s new School of Medicine has been allocated 100 places: the first cohort of 50 medical students will join in 2019-20, rising to 100 the following year.

Medical students will learn in the University of Sunderland’s existing Health Sciences teaching and learning space, which include outstanding facilities, real-life settings and the latest simulation equipment.