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New programme to open up opportunities for medical training

The University, in partnership with a local charitable trust, has launched a new Foundation Year course for its Medical degree programme aimed at increasing access to the medical professions from less-represented group.

The University of Leicester, consistently one of the most socially inclusive of the UK’s leading universities with a long-standing commitment to providing fairer and equal access to higher education, is now recruiting students residing in the East Midlands for its new Medicine with Foundation Year degree. They will be supported by scholarships provided by the University and the local charitable trust, who have contributed £2 million towards the cost of the course.

In taking on the degree students will be given a direct route into the University’s innovative new medical curriculum that takes advantage of the cutting-edge new Centre for Medicine on campus.

Although it is encouraged by the Medical Council, very few UK Medical Schools offer a Medical Foundation Year with Widening Participation at its heart. Currently 80% of all medical students in the UK stem from just 20% of schools, and of the 11,125 students who entered medicine and dentistry in 2011 just 4.1 per cent were from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. In particular, addressing the lack of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds entering the medical profession is a key national priority.

Professor Nick London, Head of the Medical School, said: “The Medical School is of the view that although there is no doubt that an undergraduate medical course is demanding, to become the type of doctor that we want to produce requires attributes such as compassion, empathy, enthusiasm, determination, dedication, resilience and common-sense as much as a robust academic foundation. With this new foundation year, we have the opportunity to provide that strong academic base for those we identify with those valuable traits but who may not have considered medicine as a potential career."

The University has strong relationships with schools and colleges across the East Midlands and is already working with them through its Widening Participation Programmes to identify the most promising applicants. They will be offered the opportunity to join the University of Leicester ‘MedReach’ e-mentoring programme, a two year programme which links A-level students with current Medical undergraduates. The University is also launching a new MedLEAP programme, designed to engage and support talented Year 12 students whose personal circumstances may have affected their ability to reach their full academic potential.

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