The region is set to benefit from not one, but two medical schools under proposals announced by University of Exeter and Plymouth University.
The two founding members of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry have outlined their plans to expand independently and grow the success of the now nationally recognised professional health education provider. With an equitable split of total student numbers, Exeter will create a new Medical School (University of Exeter Medical School), while Plymouth will create a new Medical and Dental School (the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry).
The amicable agreement has come about due to the partnership reaching a state of maturity in light of the changes happening in the wider Higher Education and NHS environment. In effect, the success of PCMD has seen it simply outgrow the partnership in this current climate.
Under the new arrangement, dental students will continue to treat NHS patients under supervision as part of their studies, at the dental school’s four dental education facilities in Devon and Cornwall.
Professor Wendy Purcell, Vice-Chancellor at Plymouth University said: “This has been a highly successful partnership which as a result has seen the Peninsula Medical and Dental School outgrow the current arrangements. These new proposals bring new opportunities and possibilities for us to build upon our work to address health inequalities in the region, promoting social inclusion and making a real difference to the community. Plymouth’s distinctive offer will include a renewed focus on translating research into practice, growing the next generation of local doctors and dentists, and continuing to offer free dental care to up to 500 local people every day.”
Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor at Exeter University said: “The current partnership has worked well to get medical and dental education to its current strong position. But we now require a different model to respond to the challenges of the future. Our joint plan will benefit students, staff, patients and medical and dental professionals and enable us to build on the strong foundations established by PCMD. We very much look forward to working in partnership with our staff and students, healthcare trusts and other healthcare providers to train doctors for the future, for the benefit of the communities of the South-West.”
Students, patients and staff will continue to come first and will not be affected in any way by the proposals. For current medical and dental students it will be very much business as usual. Existing students, including those entering the college’s programmes in 2012, will be taught under the terms of the current joint arrangements and will graduate with joint degrees of the two universities. New students entering from 2013 will study for University of Exeter or Plymouth University degrees. The two universities remain committed to working together to further the regional knowledge economy through their other existing joint ventures.
The changes are subject to the approval of the General Medical and Dental Councils, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the NHS.