John Stevenson MP for Carlisle, Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness and Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and Border, have written to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock expressing their overwhelming support for a new joint School of Medicine in Cumbria.
The School of Medicine will be sited in what has been traditionally regarded as an area in England where the recruitment and retention of medical staff is a significant challenge. The proposal is a partnership between the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London, initially aiming to recruit 50 graduate entry students per year commencing in 2024. It will educate and train generalist doctors who are grounded in scientific method to deliver healthcare in community based, rural and disadvantaged settings where health and social inequalities are well documented.
It will allow Imperial College to expand the scope of its educational offer, supporting communities by building links with the University of Cumbria, which is already providing local health care education via nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, occupational health, diagnostic radiography, paramedic practitioners, psychology and social work training programmes.
In addition to the new medical provision the two partnering Universities are also planning to develop and engage in a range of local research programmes in contrasting geographically and demographically different areas.
John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle said, ‘This is great news for Carlisle and the wider region, which has traditionally had difficulties recruiting and retaining much medical staff. A new Medical school should go some way to addressing recruitment issues in our health service in Carlisle and more widely across Cumbria.
It is fantastic that our local University is at the forefront of this initiative. With an emphasis will be on understanding community, public and rural health and health and social inequalities it will be well placed to benefit to our residents. I am pleased that our local NHS providers are also fully behind this proposal.’