The University of Sunderland welcomed its first medical students on Monday as the doors opened on its new School of Medicine in a watershed moment for the city and the North East.
The School saw 50 students arrive on Monday as they embark on their journey to become a qualified doctor.
With state-of-the-art facilities already in place and dedicated partnerships with the region’s NHS trusts, the opening allows the University to offer 360° healthcare via its graduating students.
The University will now offer a full cycle of health programmes from paramedic training and nursing to pharmacy and, now, medicine. In total, 2019/20 will see more than 2,000 health professionals of the future going through the University’s doors.
As well as providing the opportunity to study medicine to students with the required talent and capability, the school will be well-placed to address the region’s chronic shortage of doctors.
Medical student Francesca Cockell, 18, of Whickham, Gateshead, today became one of the first 50 students embarking on the life-changing journey to qualifying as a doctor.
Francesca, who completed her A Levels at Emmanuel College, said: “I received a few offers from different universities but I’d been to an open day at Sunderland and I was so impressed; they made me feel like a person, not just a number.
“I like the fact that this is a university willing to accommodate medical students from all backgrounds, that the door wouldn’t be shut on you just because you come from a working class environment.”
Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University, said: “I’m delighted to be welcoming our first cohort of students to the Sunderland School of Medicine.
“It is an exciting time for the women and men involved as they embark on the demanding journey to become a doctor.
“Offering a medical degree is further demonstration of the crucially important work done at, and by, the University of Sunderland. We now have a full suite of health-related disciplines which, this year, will be educating more than 2,000 future professionals. All of them will have a positive and powerful effect on the health of the city and the wider region.”
In March last year the Government announced that Sunderland was one of five places across the country granted permission to open a new medical school.
The decision fitted perfectly with the University’s ongoing commitment to improving patient care through its teaching and research across subjects including pharmacy, nursing, paramedic practice, biomedical science and now medicine.