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Announcing the University of Sunderland School of Medicine

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Published on 20 March 2018

University of Sunderland has announced its School of Medicine
University of Sunderland has announced its School of Medicine

University of Sunderland has been successful in its bid to open a new school of medicine. 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, Acting 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.

University of Sunderland School of Medicine – all you need to know:

The University of Sunderland is to open a new School of Medicine.

In a watershed moment for the University, and the City of Sunderland, the Government has announced plans to open the facility from September 2019.

 But, exactly what’s happening, and when? Here’s all you need to know:


So, what is the announcement?

The Government has revealed today that the University of Sunderland is to open a medical school.

The city is one of five areas across the country to have been granted permission for the school.


Why did they pick the University of Sunderland?

Picking-up on the University’s already-strong reputation in the delivery of a range of courses in pharmacy, nursing, paramedic practice and biomedical science among many others, the Government has decided to make Sunderland a key player in its biggest ever increase of the medical workforce.


Where will the school of Medicine be?

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.


So, what will this mean for the city, and region as a whole?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is keen to boost medical school applicants from all types of backgrounds as part of their bid to tackle social injustices.

Widening participation is a key strategic factor for the University.

Also, the University of Sunderland having its own medical school will provide a huge boost to the region, with thousands of NHS patients set to benefit.

There is also evidence that doctors tend to remain in the areas they trained in and that trainee doctors have a ‘halo’ effect on the economy.


What is the Government saying about its decision to pick the University of Sunderland?

Jeremy Hunt, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Setting up five new medical schools is part of the biggest ever expansion of our medical and nursing workforce; which will help us deal with the challenges of having around one million more over 75s in 10 years’ time.

“These schools are being set up in parts of the country where it is can be hard to recruit and attract new doctors - but will benefit doctors everywhere as we start to eliminate the rota gaps that add so much pressure to their work.”


So, when does it open?

The first intake of students will be in the 2019/2020 academic term.


How will the people of Sunderland – and the North East – benefit from this?

Well, the University will be working closely with the local community to help talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds become doctors, widening access to medicine and ensuring the profession reflects the population it serves.

It also means people living across the city will benefit from city-trained medical talent for years to come.


How has the news been met in Higher Education circles?

Professor Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), said: “This significant expansion opens the door for many more students, including students from under-represented groups, to gain high-quality medical education and training.

“Universities and colleges across the country play a vital role in supporting their local and regional communities. This initiative will provide highly-skilled professionals, many of whom will go on to serve communities in areas of greatest need.”