The University of Sunderland has submitted a bid to central government to triple the size of its successful medical school.
The bid means that instead of recruiting 100 new medical students each year, the University will be aiming to recruit 300, meaning that the size of the medical school would grow to 1,500 students by early next decade.
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir David Bell, made the announcement as part of a speech to the Delivering Future Cities Forum in Sunderland City Hall on Wednesday, an event which kicks off Expo Sunderland for which the University is a headline sponsor.
Sir David said: “Such an expansion will enable more opportunities for students from Sunderland and the north-east to train as doctors, given that they are scandalously underrepresented presently in the overall UK medical school numbers.
“But we will also attract and welcome students from outside the region and elsewhere in the UK, many of whom we know will choose to make this their home in the years and decades ahead.
“I am very pleased to say too that we have the support for this bid from the chief executives of our five regional partner NHS trusts, as well as from other significant leadership figures within the NHS regionally.
“We hope too that many more GP practices will want to become part of our story which will also include a strong element of innovation in learning and teaching medicine.”
The University’s capital plan now includes £20m to further the development of the School of Medicine and ensure that students are taught in some of the best facilities in the country.
With a professions-facing ambition, the University is fundamental to ensuring Sunderland and the north-east is equipped with an appropriately skilled, graduate-level, workforce, who want to remain living and working in the area.
The University’s medical school opened in 2019, with the first cohort of new doctors expected to graduate at the Stadium of Light in summer 2024.
Sir David added: “I hope you agree that this is very exciting, ‘game-changing’, news for our institution and for the city.”
The bid is the latest in a series of recent health-related research developments at the University which are already making a significant contribution to the city.