The creation of a new and distinctive medical school serving the three counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire is an exciting development both for the University of Worcester and the local community and health sector.
Coinciding with unprecedented challenges now facing the NHS that threaten the health and wellbeing of the nation, it presents an exceptional and timely opportunity to answer pressing as well as long-standing needs for a fresh and more innovative and targeted approach to medical education.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of urgently addressing existing shortages of doctors and other vital healthcare professionals nationally and particularly in rural regions that are significantly under-served, including those to be covered by the Three Counties Medical School (TCMS).
It has also underlined a necessity to train doctors who are resourceful problem-solvers who are used to collaborating as part of a multi-professional team and are therefore capable of responding to rapidly changing situations. This perfectly describes the kind of individual we expect to graduate from our new medical school.
“Our healthcare professional graduates already make a hugely beneficial impact on the health and wellbeing of our local communities. The opportunity to expand this further across the counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, through the creation of a new Medical School, will make a transformative contribution to the region’s health workforce.”
Professor Sarah Greer, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost
Chair of the Three Counties Medical School Project
Training the doctors and healthcare leaders of the future means providing a programme that is in tune with the drive towards more care in the community and patient-centred practice. Our postgraduate course will feature a unique third year, which will include an integrated community placement. We will fully utilise the untapped resource of community hospitals as a training ground for students, working alongside professionals and students from other health disciplines. The programme will stand out for its ambitious plan to embed interdisciplinary and problem-based learning in the curriculum, and for the way it will marry empathetic patient-focussed values with the latest knowledge and professionalism of the modern-day health service.
Responding to national and regional health demands requires a recruitment and training strategy designed to attract highly motivated and conscientious people from diverse backgrounds who represent the communities served by the medical profession.
The TCMS is part of a new wave of medical schools in the UK that are aiming to widen access to careers in medicine. The University of Worcester, widely regarded as one of Britain’s most inclusive higher education institutions, is in an excellent position to take a lead in this movement. Its commitment to widening opportunities and equality has been recognised in a string of national awards over the past four years.
The development of a medical school based at the heart of a new health and wellbeing campus is a logical next big step for the University, and is a key objective in its current strategic plan. It grows organically out of established strengths and a solid and long track record in delivering a wide range of high quality programmes in subjects allied to nursing and health.
The TCMS will build on existing staff expertise, relationships with Trusts and hospitals, professional regulatory bodies and university facilities. It will also allow for the development of an integrated course experience and community of practice - reflecting the current emphasis on integrated care - as trainee doctors, nurses and other health professionals learn in a shared environment.
“Creating the Three Counties Medical School to serve the people of this region and beyond is a major investment. There is a serious shortage of doctors in many rural areas as well as in the Acute Hospitals. The latest official workforce forecasts predict that the shortage of health personnel is going to balloon to 170,000 by 2027, which is just when doctors educated at the Three Counties Medical School should start coming on stream.”
Professor David Green CBE
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Worcester
The benefits of opening the TCMS extend far beyond the evolution of university healthcare teaching. In developing the school, the University aspires in the long term to provide a practical solution to the significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining doctors in the region. Research has shown that focussing on recruitment of local students is likely to be an effective strategy. The TCMS will work in close partnership with Trusts and hospitals in the region, as well as schools and other local stakeholders, to help realise these objectives. It amounts to a collaborative venture from which the regional community, healthcare system, medical profession, students, higher education sector and the NHS all stand to gain.
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