Last Thursday I met with representatives from Imperial College London and the leaders of the University of Cumbria to hear them announce the go ahead for a new medical school in Carlisle.
The Government has given the green light for the innovative arrangement between the two universities that will mean a new medical school will open in Carlisle for 50 medical students to study in our city from 2025. This is a huge deal for the university of Cumbria, for Carlisle, and for the rest of Cumbria – as well as, of course, for the health sector in our region.
This will be the first ever graduate entry medical school in Cumbria, and it follows closely on the back of the of the Citadels development (where the medical school will be based) that will see the university move to the centre of Carlisle. The Citadels development is going to be transformative to our city centre – re-invigorating a part of Carlisle that has long been looked over. All of this coupled with the redevelopment of Carlisle Station will mean a brand new lease of life for a part of our city that has such historical significance.
But aside from the physical changes, the new medical school also sends out a powerful message that we are a city with an ambitious University creating strong national links and a with a leadership that is proactive and determined to make a difference. Imperial College London’s medical school medical school is one of the best in the world, and the partnership with the University of Cumbria is going to be a project of truly national significance. This really is an exciting time for the University and the students.
Some of the best and brightest in the world will be coming to Carlisle to study at this school – and I know that plenty of them will fall in love with this part of the world. It has long been acknowledged that our local health service has struggled with issues of recruitment, and this announcement will go a huge way to address this issue.
Education can make a substantial difference to the lives of individuals as well as the wider community. Since its creation in 2007 the University of Cumbria has had its ups and downs, but it is now moving into a completely new phase where its reputation is growing, the environment it works in is modern, and the offer to students is inspiring. Over the last couple of years we have learned just how important cutting edge medical training is. Building on the great work the University of Cumbria already does training nurses, midwives, and other healthcare professionals, this announcement will really take the University to the next level.
If there was ever a time to be a student in Carlisle, it is now. I have always thought our city has had a huge amount to offer those coming to study here – great bars and restaurants, friendly locals, stunning surrounding scenery, and quality accommodation. But these developments really help cement Carlisle as an educational destination. We should be proud of this, as it is great for students and exciting for our city.