Published 4 December 2017
Canterbury Christ Church and the University of Kent’s recently (27 November) submitted a bid for a medical school for Kent which NHS and local authority leaders across Kent and Medway, including east Kent Hospitals, have signed letters of support for.
Kent has difficulty staffing NHS posts, particularly in the eastern coastal areas and medical schools are known to boost local recruitment and retention. The leaders, including medical directors and director of medical education, see the potential medical school as an essential part of the solution for recruiting and retaining a strong workforce for the future.
The bid is a response to the Government’s commitment to fund an additional 1500 medical places by 2020. The bid will be evaluated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Health Education England (HEE) and the results will be known in March 2018.
‘Both our Kent universities are regarded as exceptional in their fields and we are fully in support of their bid,’ says Hazel Smith, Accountable Officer for NHS South Kent Coast and Thanet Clinical Commissioning Groups and lead on workforce for the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). ‘The transformation that this could bring for our workforce would be huge, not just for medical education but for the knock-on impact for other health and social care professions.’
Susan Acott, Interim Chief Executive of East Kent Hospitals says: ‘This is a hugely important opportunity that could be a game-changer for Kent’s NHS, boosting local recruitment by helping to ‘grow our own’ health professionals of the future. A medical school is also a magnet for attracting research and intellect to a health system. Having a medical school in Kent could change the nature of what we can offer to our local population and to the role we could play in the wider NHS.”