Press Release: University of Buckingham opens the UK’s first independent medical school

5 January 2015

The country’s first independent medical school has been launched with its central focus on teaching medical students to deliver the highest level of care to patients.

The first phase of the four-and-a-half year MB ChB course will start this week in Buckingham and will offer a mix of clinical and biomedical science teaching over two years. The second, clinical, phase will be centred at Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust over the remaining two and a half years. Teaching and governance will be delivered to General Medical Council standards.

The University will work with other national partners and the first collaboration for psychiatric education and clinical placements will be with the UK’s leading mental health charity providing specialist NHS care, St Andrew’s, Northampton. The medical school will also work with more than a dozen local surgeries.

The MB ChB is designed to appeal to a global market as, unlike other UK medical schools, its international student numbers will not be capped. However, the current intake, 70 students, is 60% home students and 40% overseas. The admission criteria are comparable to the UK’s other medical schools and the fees of £36,000 per annum are within the range of fees being charged by other UK medical schools for overseas students. The course has proved so popular that there have been 500 applicants for just 70 places.

The University already has a proven track record, having developed a successful Postgraduate Medical School jointly with West London’s Ealing Hospital. Students for the undergraduate course have come from countries including India, Iraq, Zambia and Norway and are returning to their countries to apply the knowledge they have gained.

Narrative Medicine, where students learn first hand the issues faced by patients with chronic illnesses, is one of the features of the course. Students will meet patients in the fourth week of their course and have contact with them for 18 months.

Professor John Clapham, Chief Operating Officer at the new University of Buckingham Medical School, said: “We have been absolutely staggered by the huge response to the course. And we are already getting double the number of applications than we did for this year for the 2016 course.

“The ethos at Buckingham has always been to put the student first and at the Medical School we will add to this by making the patient the central focus. Small group sessions and one of the smallest Medical School courses in the country means that Buckingham students will get all the help and expertise they need to become first class doctors.”

Professor Martin Wetherill, Medical Director for Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of medical students to our hospital and we’re proud to be the University’s partners in such an exciting development.This is a fantastic opportunity for the Trust. Bringing a medical school to Milton Keynes is just the start of our expansion plans that will ultimately enable us to become a world-class teaching hospital. The growth of the hospital will allow us to continue to offer the very best care to our local community and beyond.”

For more details contact Diana Blamires, Press Officer, The University of Buckingham
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820213
Email:  diana.blamires@buckingham.ac.uk

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