Students waiting in the church for graduation

The first cohort of Medical students graduate from the UK’s only independent medical school

3 July 2019

This weekend the inaugural cohort of students from The University of Buckingham Medical School celebrated their graduation.

The Medical School, the UK’s first independent medical school since the Victorian era, graduated 57 students from the 4.5-year medicine course on 29 June.

Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham, Sir Anthony Seldon, said: “This is a great milestone in the 43-year history of the University, just a month after The University of Buckingham Medical School was accredited by the GMC after a very demanding five-year period.”

Of the first student cohort, 40% were overseas students with the greatest contributions from Canada, Nigeria and Australia. The school has been surprised by the sheer number of home students, indicating the pent-up demand for medical school places in the United Kingdom and the quality of the offering at Buckingham.

Dean of Medicine, Karol Sikora, said: “Our first group of students were real pioneers. We couldn’t get GMC approval until the end of the course, but they took the risk, were completely committed and were successful. We are truly proud of them.”

Female student celebrating after graduation

Final year student Miss Ritu Trivedi said: “When I started this course, I took a risk. It was a new medical school; the fee was more than any other medical school, no senior cohorts to go to for guidance and no guarantee that I would get a GMC accredited degree in medicine after four-and-a-half years. I felt my desire for success was much greater than my fear of failure. I am here because I chose to take a risk and now, I’m being rewarded. Today, I can proudly say we are the pioneers.”

A key feature of the programme at Buckingham is early patient contact which takes place within the first six weeks. Consultant and GP-led teaching is embedded in the school, with students taking their clinical placements at Milton Keynes University Hospital, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust at Stoke Mandeville.

During the graduation ceremony, three honorary degrees were awarded. The former Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham, Dr Terence Kealey, originated the idea of daring to open a private medical school, for which he received his honorary degree.

Other individuals who received an honorary degree included Helen Taylor Thompson OBE, who founded Europe’s first AIDS hospice at the Mildmay Hospital in London’s East End, and David Nott OBE, who has spoken passionately to our Medical students about harrowing reality of war medicine.

Helen Taylor Thompson, 94, told the graduates: “I want to thank you for the work you’re doing, it is absolutely terrific and you graduates have got the world as your oyster. Working hard and being kind to others is the oyster of the world: you will find a beautiful pearl when you are finished.”

The students celebrated with an afternoon tea and ball held at Stowe School in the evening.

Find out more about the Medical School.