UCLan launches international medical sciences programme

University of Central Lancashire is collaborating with University of the Caribbean School of Medicine to deliver training which will bring high quality medical professionals to the county and help address the global shortage of doctors.

Together, the universities are offering students a postgraduate diploma in International Medical Sciences (PGIMS) from UCLan’s School of Medicine, delivered at the University’s Preston Campus, followed by the Doctor of Medicine (MD) postgraduate degree from AUC School of Medicine.

The new programme will serve as a hub to educate an international group of students at a time when the World Health Organisation predicts a shortage of 4.3 million physicians, nurses and other health workers by 2030. In the UK alone there are currently 12,000 vacancies for doctors.

Professor Graham Baldwin, vice-chancellor at UCLan, said: “Fundamentally, the best doctors are those equipped with the skills and outlook to thrive in any country or environment across the world.

“Now, with AUC School of Medicine committing themselves to a base here at UCLan, I feel very optimistic that together we can have a real impact in supplying the next generation of graduates to help solve the chronic skills shortages which have plagued, not just the North West, but countries across the world.

“I can only see our growing relationship with AUC School of Medicine strengthening and developing with new avenues for collaborative working being established in both teaching and research.”

Our region will benefit from a constant supply of very high calibre professionals who could work in our local hospitals

The partnership was officially launched with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by an audience of dignitaries.

Dr Heidi Chumley, executive dean, AUC School of Medicine, said: “The global shortage of doctors is quickly approaching crisis levels. This shared public health issue heralds the necessity for international collaboration and innovation. We are proud to stand with our partners at UCLan in the creation of this new programme, drawing students from around the globe, helping educate the next generation of doctors.”

David Taylor, pro-chancellor and chair of the university board, added: “The official opening of an AUC School of Medicine base here at UCLan is truly symbolic of a new era in our joint strategy for medical education. Our region will benefit from a constant supply of very high calibre professionals who could work in our local hospitals adding their energy, enthusiasm and expertise to help patients and service users as well as playing a vital role in supporting our health economy.”

The two universities began working together in 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Irma, when AUC School of Medicine’s Sint Maarten campus was devastated along with the rest of the nation and UCLan and the city of Preston provided a temporary home for the students to continue their medical education.