University of Worcester Allocated 50 Medical Places

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson building
The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson building where the Three Counties Medical School is based

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, will make the announcement today that the Government is making more than 200 medical school extra places available at universities for next September. The University is one of five in England to receive a provisional allocation.

University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green CBE DL, said: “We are delighted by the decision to allocate an initial 50 funded places for medical students from September 2024 to the Three Counties Medical School at the University of Worcester. In the years to come this will make such a positive difference to the people of the Three Counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire together with the Black Country borough of Dudley and Halesowen, all of whom live in such ‘under-doctored’ areas of the country. We would like to thank NHS England and all in Government and Parliament who have contributed to this most positive decision.”

The first cohort of students began their studies at the University last month. 20 UK students are being funded currently through generous donations from the Kildare Trust and local NHS trusts. These 20 have been joined by 24 self-funded international students.

Medical School 1st cohort

Professor Green added: “Today’s exciting news would not have been possible without the very strong support of partners in the NHS in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire who, together with the Kildare Trust, provided the initial funds for the first cohort of 20 UK Medical students who started this September, together with the Clive Richards Foundation who funded our state-of-the-art anatomy suite. We are very grateful to all our partners and are determined that we will repay their trust by educating successive cohorts of outstanding medical students who will go on to serve the people of this region and their NHS.”

The Government’s new NHS Workforce Plan, announced in the summer, set out a 15-year strategy to boost the national health workforce. Among its targets was to increase the number of UK medical school places from the current 7,500 a year to 10,000 a year by 2028 and double them to 15,000 a year by 2031. However, the plan did not provide for new medical school places until September 2025. The University has been campaigning for the Government to make places available for next September.

The University’s medical students are based at the new Elizabeth Garrett Anderson building on its Severn Campus, which opened earlier this year, and features the anatomy suite, along with clinical skills and simulation facilities.

Dean of the Three Counties Medical School, Professor Sandra Nicholson, said: “We are delighted to receive the news of these commissioned medical student places for 2024. We have all worked incredibly hard to secure Government funding and this endorsement highlights our commitment to increasing the local medical workforce and recognises the contribution that the Three Counties Medical School will make.”

Chief Executive of NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Simon Trickett, added: “This is absolutely fantastic news. It’s a huge landmark in the development of the Medical School and is strategically one of the most important things that has ever happened for the local health and care system. Training more doctors locally will make a huge difference to the services we can offer local patients and we’d encourage young people who want to be doctors to consider studying here. We’d love them to train locally and then take jobs locally.”

The University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Health and Science, Professor Sally Moyle, said: “I’m delighted at the prospect of welcoming 50 students, government funded, onto the course at the Three Counties Medical School. This year we had 20 home students funded by contributions from charities and the NHS locally, so to go from 20 to 50 is going to be a fantastic increase in the medical pipeline of the future.

“The recently published NHS Long-term Workforce Plan outlined that this would come into effect in September 2025, so to bring this forward will be a real boost for the region. Our health programmes are truly multi professional and these places will complement our healthcare portfolio which already encompasses nursing, midwifery, radiography and other essential health disciplines.”

MP for Worcester, Robin Walker, said: “Securing funded places is a huge breakthrough, it means our Three Counties Medical School can start to train the doctors of tomorrow and this will make a massive difference to both recruitment and retention in our local NHS. It’s a great credit to our university that they have continued to invest in the medical school, even when there was significant uncertainty about funding for local students and to all the local NHS trusts for significantly supporting it in its early years.

“After the publication of the long term workforce plan I pointed out to ministers and officials that all the ingredients for a successful medical school were in place; demand for placements in local NHS trusts, a university with a great track record in healthcare and a strong team and more than enough demand from local students with more than a thousand applicants for places last year. We just needed to ensure that there were funded places as soon as possible.

“This feels like it has been a long time coming but today's decision is truly welcome and will be a boost for our city, our county and the whole health economy of the three counties.”