The increase in funded medical school places from 2018 is obviously good news but there is a snag

Professor Philip Baker (pictured), Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Medicine, has written an article for University Business discussing the increase in funded medical school places from 2018 announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The piece outlines how this is good news - but also some of the challenges the field is facing, including the high proportion of medical graduates who do not go on to work in the NHS, what will happen to patient care as more doctors retire, as well as ensuring that doctors are fairly distributed around the country.

Professor Baker describes how instead of simply teaching our students, we need to train them for lifelong learning, and to encourage them to retain their spirit of curiosity, listing a number of ways in which our University is helping to deliver this.

In the article Professor Baker says: "Here at the University of Leicester Medical School we have overhauled our medical training programme, turning it into more of an apprenticeship model and giving students the opportunity to gain clinical experiences from year one. They will be much closer to seeing the job, doing the job, and understanding it, and so will be better prepared when they actually start work in hospitals or the community.  Increased clinical contact will contextualise their learning. It’s much easier to understand why all the physiology, biochemistry and anatomy needs to be learned and understood when you see it in the context of patients you meet on the ward.

"At the University of Leicester, helped by generous local philanthropy, we are starting a medical foundation year and working with local schools in challenging areas to identify bright students who have great potential but might not quite achieve the highest A-level grades. We will identify students with great potential before they sit their A-levels and invite them in for a year to work and learn with us. Assuming they meet our requirements, they will join our medical programme at the end of that year.

"Last year the University of Leicester celebrated the 40th anniversary of its medical school with the opening of a new £42 million Centre for Medicine. The original medical school was established in the 1970s to help address regional imbalance in the provision of medical staff and services.  Those inequalities still exist, but with our new curriculum and the new funding for extra training places we could at last take a giant step towards ensuring the UK has a truly world-class national health service."