Health Minister praises ‘fantastic Medical School’

Health Minister and Charnwood MP, Ed Argar, praised the genuine partnership between the University, University Hospitals Leicester and the community during a visit to the University Medical School on 24 June.

He met with President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences Professor Tom Robinson. Mr Argar also engaged with researchers and students and interacted with Richard Mitchell, CEO of University Hospitals Leicester.

The Minister recognised the outstanding work at Leicester and praised Leicester’s world-leading research, strong partnership with UHL, leadership during the pandemic, ability to translate research into practice at speed, innovative teaching, and engagement with our diverse communities.

Mr Argar said: “It was fantastic to visit the Medical School at the University of Leicester. As a local Leicestershire MP, I’m well aware of what fantastic work the Medical School does, but also as a Health Minister, it was particularly interesting to me. The synergies between research, between the practical and clinical outcomes for the patients at the University Hospitals Trust, and the students, the future of our NHS workforce coming through this Medical School are so important. And what really struck me is just how close that relationship is between the training, the University and between the Hospitals Trust. It’s a genuine partnership and it works so well for the benefit of patients, and indeed for training our future workforce.

“I met some amazing students. Their enthusiasm, their insight shone through everything they said and with people like them as the future of our NHS workforce, I know we can have confidence in our future healthcare in this country. They were truly inspirational and brilliant students and really, really interesting and passionate people.”

Mr Argar was told about the University’s world-leading medical research and in particular the contributions to COVID research.  During a roundtable discussion on levelling up health inequalities in the UK, he discussed issues pertaining to ethnic health and long-COVID as well as the impact of socio-economic deprivation. Mr Argar showed great interest in the first-hand accounts of students talking about their experience in medicine and their support of the NHS and well-being in the community.

Mr Argar added: “One of the key things that I’ll take away today is just how important that strong relationship is between the University and the Medical School and the Hospitals Trust. They’re working together in partnership. But not just with the Trust and the Hospital and the University working together, but with the local community and the strength of that relationship with the community in Leicester and Leicestershire and the local authorities is what I think makes this relationship and the opportunities it gives us really genuinely special.

“In Leicester and Leicestershire I think we’ve got a lot to shout about; we’re certainly leading the country I think in a whole range of the research that I heard about today, and in the approaches adopted and I think we need to be proud of that and to tell people just what amazing work is being done here at the University of Leicester and in the Hospitals Trust.”

Professor Tom Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences, said: “Visits such as this are incredibly important for us to demonstrate the impact of our work and to feed into policy and decision making within political circles. The Health Minister was incredibly well informed and showed tremendous interest in the work of the University and engaged positively with us. He was particularly impressed by our close working relationship with Leicester’s Hospitals and the benefits this brought in terms of delivery of high quality and safe clinical practice, training and education, and research, all of which lead to patient benefits. His interaction with students was lively and insightful and demonstrated the passion and enthusiasm that our medical and healthcare students bring to their professions.”

The visit took place just days before the launch of the Civic University Agreement – a partnership of universities and local authorities in the locality to make a palpable impact on the life of the region, as exemplified by the partnership between the University of Leicester and University Hospitals Leicester.