A long-fought-for Lincolnshire medical school will train 80 skilled health professionals per year, promising to help plug worsening staffing gaps in the NHS.
Professor Andrew Hunter, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, told The Lincolnite the university is delighted to have been successful in a year-long bidding process for government funding.
“It’s going to make a huge difference. We know that where there have been medical schools some of the students will stay on as doctors and one of the issues the county has is recruiting enough clinicians.”
Funding (the total of which has not been disclosed) will provide five-year medical degrees to 80 students each year, taught at the University of Nottingham Lincoln Medical School, with the first cohort starting in September 2019.
Training will include placements within local hospitals and will have a particular focus on primary care such as GP care and mental health work.
Initially run as a partnership with the University of Nottingham, using the Nottingham curriculum, the school will eventually become the sole responsibility of the University of Lincoln.
A brand new city centre campus building will house the school in years to come, though plans are still in the early stages.
The successful bid was announced alongside five other new medical schools totalling 1,500 new places.
It’s hoped that a large percentage of those who train in Lincolnshire will go on to take up professions in the county, where the NHS has historically struggled to retain healthcare professionals.
The news has been welcomed by a number of local politicians.
Sir Edward Lee, MP for Gainsborough, said: “I am delighted that the health secretary has approved plans for a medical school for Lincoln. I have been lobbying hard for this for several years. It is a great victory for Lincolnshire. It will help attract bright new GPs, doctors and nurses into our county to learn, live and work here.”
Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman added: “It is great news for our local NHS and especially for patients, who I know often struggle to get an appointment with a GP, as studies have shown that doctors tend to remain in the areas they trained in.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Setting up five new medical schools is part of the biggest ever expansion of our medical and nursing workforce, which we will need to deal with the challenge of around one million more over 75s in a decade’s 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 it will benefit the doctors everywhere as we start to eliminate the rota gaps that add so much pressure to their work.”