Universities receive funding to develop county's first medical school

20 March 2018

The Government and Health Education England (HEE) announced today (Tuesday 20 March 2018) that the 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.

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Canterbury Christ Church University, and Professor 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 the health and social care sustainability and transformation partnership for Kent and Medway, commented: “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.

For further information or interview requests with Professor Karen Cox and Professor Rama Thirunamachandran contact Gary Hughes at the University of Kent or Jeanette Earl at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Notes to editors

The new medical school will offer:

    • a model that starts in the community and primary care with early clinical placements within Community Education Provider Networks - covering GP surgeries, pharmacies, and local care centres - from year one
    • annually 100 undergraduate places in a centre for first-class medical education and research to support future workforce planning in the region
  • collaborative teams that are embedded within local NHS providers and are committed to leading and transforming healthcare delivery
  • high quality research to find evidence-based solutions to promote health, address local challenges and reduce inequalities in provision across the county.

It also aims to:

  • address workforce shortages in priority areas by developing doctors in specialities that are currently under-represented in Kent and Medway
  • offer five-year undergraduate programmes resulting in joint degrees from both the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • deliver teaching and research across both universities’ Canterbury and Medway campuses, building on their existing knowledge and expertise
  • ensure students are fully part of both student communities, working closely with those in other health and social care programmes and taking up placements that embed them within community healthcare organisations.

University of Kent

Established in 1965, the University of Kent – the UK’s European university – now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It has been ranked: 23rd in the Guardian University Guide 2017; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017; and 17th in the Complete University Guide 2016.

In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, Kent is in the top 10% of the world’s leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its ‘Table of Tables’ 2016.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities.

Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (www.kent.ac.uk/about/partnerships/eastern-arc.html).

In 2014, Kent received its second Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a dynamic and innovative university, supporting all students to gain an outstanding education and enjoy an excellent student experience.

It is actively involved in public life, from its role in influencing national policy and practice to addressing real-world challenges through teaching and research.

96% of the University’s most recent UK undergraduates and 98% of postgraduates were in employment or study six months after completing their studies (includes full-time and part-time); higher than the national average, 9 out of 10 of employed graduates are also in graduate-level jobs three-and-a-half years after finishing their studies.

It is a multi-campus university with 16,200 students studying a wide range of courses across Kent and Medway, with graduates teaching in schools, providing health and social care in the community, helping businesses to flourish and injecting talent into creative industries.

It received a Silver rating for teaching excellence in 2017, a significant national endorsement of its high-quality and transformative education and is investing significantly in the student experience for future generations. This includes a £150 million campus development to support curriculum expansion in engineering and technology, and a new arts building to promote careers in the creative industries.

Latest research* shows that the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University are worth £909m to the Canterbury economy and £1.3bn to the South East economy. Combined they are among the largest employers in the region, jointly employing about 4,930 members of staff (full-time equivalents).

*Viewforth Consulting Ltd. for the academic year 2014/15

Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

Glenn Douglas is chief executive of the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. This is a partnership of all the NHS organisations in Kent and Medway, Kent County Council and Medway Council working together to transform health and social care for the future.



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 23:51:00