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Home > News > Medical Education Campus heralds new era of healthcare in West Cumbria

Medical Education Campus heralds new era of healthcare in West Cumbria

Posted on Friday 9th October 2015
wch courtyard

The new West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven

A new research, teaching and medical education campus has launched in West Cumbria aimed at improving healthcare at every level across the region.

West Cumberland Medical Education Campus (WCMEC) is a collaboration between the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and the Samuel Lindow Foundation. It will develop education in medicine and related areas such as dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and policy.

The new campus, part of the UCLan School of Medicine, will offer opportunities to deliver innovative improvements in remote and rural healthcare and develop new integrated models of care for the local area.

It will also provide a local facility to train West Cumbria’s clinical workforce and attract the best global students to the area to benefit patient care.

Additionally, it will bring funded teaching and research posts to the area, attracting senior academics and clinicians who will lead the campus and develop the infrastructure for medical research, as well as carrying out clinical duties within the NHS in the region.

The campus will combine academic facilities at UCLan’s Westlakes campus and neighbouring clinical facilities at the new West Cumberland Hospital, which has already represented a significant step for local communities and the development of healthcare in West Cumbria.

The first students to benefit from the campus are those on UCLan’s new five-year undergraduate medical programme, the Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor or Surgery (MBBS) for self-funded international students.

Professor St John Crean, Executive Dean of UCLan’s College of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, said: “This new campus is looking to the future and if our ambitions to work in Cumbria are fully realised, then we will have a fantastic opportunity to improve skills, research, staff recruitment and retention. The ‘halo effect’ of this programme will mean we can help attract students, doctors, teaching staff and research opportunities to Whitehaven and West Cumbria for years to come.”

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This is a hugely positive step in the right direction to help address some of the longstanding issues we face in relation to our workforce, particularly in West Cumbria. The partnership will bring in new expertise for the benefit of patient care, as well as help Cumbria to ‘Grow our Own’ medical talent and provide an innovative roadmap for the delivery of a sustainable workforce for health services in Cumbria.”

Dr David Rogers, Medical Director at NHS Cumbria’s Clinical Commissions Group, said: “This exciting and positive development will attract more medical staff and students, and the academic posts will enhance the opportunity for career development in West Cumbria, raising the profile of the area. West Cumbria has many challenges, as we know, and as we address these and start to see change, this will offer a wide range of research opportunities around general practice and integrated care models.”

Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland who visited the new West Cumberland Hospital last week, said: “I’ve worked alongside UCLan with this project from the very beginning. Growing our own medical staff represents an essential next step in achieving the long term sustainability our local health services needs.  The recruitment issues at North Cumbria Trust  - and the north of England as a whole - are well documented and this new partnership is a genuinely exciting opportunity and a truly innovative step towards a brighter future for our local services.  This new campus will be great for doctors, students, existing staff and the community as a whole. Few projects can genuinely lay claim to being transformational for any area, but the West Cumberland Medical Education Campus genuinely is.”