Medical school set to expand to tackle doctor recruitment crisis

Professor Una Macleod, the Dean of Hull York Medical School. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Professor Una Macleod, the Dean of Hull York Medical School. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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The new dean of the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) has unveiled plans to boost its intake of students in a bid to tackle the critical shortage of GPs and consultants in Yorkshire.

Professor Una Macleod, who took up her post at the start of the year, is also hoping to encourage more local people from a variety of social backgrounds to apply.

The school is currently preparing to submit a bid to the Department of Health to create up to 100 more places by 2019 after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced an extra 1,500 training places a year at the end of 2016.

It has already been granted an extra 14 places, which will be available in 2018, however, it is hoping to be awarded more in the next round of bids, which will be announced next year.

Professor Mcleod, who lives in Pocklington and works as a GP in Hull, said: “We would like to get 80 or 100 more. However, there will be a lot of competition. There’s a lot of support from the local NHS trusts and primary care sector for us to expand because they see the benefits of having more doctors in the future and that people who have trained in the region might stay.”

But with Brexit on the horizon, Professor Mcleod fears the doctor shortage will get worse, with European doctors less likely to practice in England.

She said: “It’s hard to know what the impact is going to be but I don’t think it’s going to be easier.”

HYMS was established in 2003 as a partnership between the universities of Hull and York to increase the number of UK-trained doctors and encourage graduates to stay in Yorkshire.

However, it remains the UK’s fourth smallest medical school, despite receiving hundreds more applications from well-qualified candidates each year than can be offered places.

Despite its humble status, it is well known for its pioneering approach to its medical programme, offering new postgraduate courses on physician associate studies and clinical anatomy.

Professor Mcleod said: “I want to make sure we have an excellent medical programme and I want to focus on the medical courses this year and really see how we can support them to be innovative.

“The new physician associate studies course provides training for a different type of health care role to take some of the pressure off the doctor shortage. I want to make sure this programme runs well. I also want to support staff in the medical school to do research, so we can really make a difference. In York there is a lot of strong medical research on protection and immunity.

“I would also like to see more people from our area studying medicine. We are working with some schools to encourage local people to apply. We are also trying to encourage people from different backgrounds to come to medical school, which would benefit the medical workforce. It’s about producing really good doctors.”

“I’m very keen the medical school makes a difference to the region.”