Another landmark has been reached by the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) founding students as they have started clinical placements in NHS and Social Care Partnership Trusts (KMPT) and the four acute hospital trusts in Kent and Medway.

They are undertaking placements at KMPT, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT), Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

KMMS is a joint initiative between Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent. It welcomed its first students in September 2020 to help address the shortage of GPs and hospital clinicians within Kent and Medway.

The founding students have spent their first two years doing placements within Primary Care Networks at GP surgeries and community health providers across the region. Now they have reached Year 3 of the programme, they have moved into the secondary care placements at the acute hospital trusts and KMPT for the first time.

The third-year students have been allocated to different trusts in groups of up to 31 students and will spend 32 weeks on site, participating in hands-on learning in a range of medical and surgical specialties. The length of these placements mean that the students will become embedded in the trusts over the academic year and will integrate with staff and the local community alike.

All the students will also complete a year-long module in Elderly Care and Psychiatry, delivered in collaboration with KMPT.

This is a really wonderful example of our whole NHS community working together to best educate our students, form exciting and positive partnerships and for the long-term benefits of health care provision in our community.

KMMS Founding Dean, Professor Chris Holland

Dr Pamela Leventis, Year 3 lead at KMMS and Director of Undergraduate Medical Education at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital Trust, said: “The students are very much looking forward to applying, consolidating, and developing their clinical skills during their year 3 hospital and community placements.

“The arrival of Year 3 KMMS students has been highly anticipated by trusts across Kent and Medway and planning has been underway since the opening of the School in 2020. Trust healthcare professionals are eager to welcome local medical students and participate in their clinical placement learning and supervision.”

Dr Afifa Qazi, Chief Medical Officer and Consultant Psychiatrist at KMPT, commented: “It’s great to see students from our own medical school in the county start their clinical placements with us. We are keen to provide them with high quality training and support their holistic development to ensure they get a brilliant experience in psychiatry.”

Grace Dabson, Year 3 Student, placed at QEQM Hospital, Margate part of the EKHUFT said: “So far, the experience has been everything I was hoping for. Practical, challenging, and with plenty of opportunities to talk to patients. We’ve been made to feel part of the workforce, and I have spoken to many of the doctors about living locally and how they are excited for KMMS to develop ‘homegrown’ students like myself, and how they hope to retain students who come to study here.”

Nasr Khiri, Year 3 Student, is placed at Medway NHS Foundation Trust. He said: “It has been great here at Medway. The staff have been really kind and have been getting us involved. I have witnessed so many different interesting conditions on the respiratory ward, so I am working hard on my studies too to keep up. The consultants are great teachers and take time to ask me questions, so they know I am engaged about the patients I am seeing.”