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Local student fulfilling dream of becoming a doctor thanks to scholarship

Trainee doctor Rachel wants to bring skills back to region

A Keswick medical student is hoping to bring her skills back to Cumbria once she qualifies as a doctor after a scholarship from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) gave her the chance to fulfil her career ambitions.

Rachel Tang, an 18-year-old trainee doctor, is one of the first UK students on the MBBS (Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery) degree at UCLan and one of two students on a fully-funded scholarship programme aimed at people residing in the Cumbria and East Lancashire regions.

Rachel was offered the chance of a lifetime in September though the Dr Kate Granger Scholarship, which was established to honour the memory of a doctor who campaigned for better patient care while suffering from terminal cancer.  Set up specifically for Cumbrian students, it covers all tuition fees for the duration of the five-year programme.

This scholarship changed my entire plan after sixth form. It really is such a great opportunity and is the biggest kick-start to a life learning process I could have ever been given.

Rachel, a former Keswick School pupil, said: “It was during a stint in hospital as a child that I was first inspired to become a doctor and I appreciated their time, work effort and personal fulfilment in helping patients.

“This scholarship changed my entire plan after sixth form. It really is such a great opportunity and is the biggest kick-start to a life learning process I could have ever been given.”

The Dr Kate Granger Scholarship is one of two medical degree scholarships offer by the University aimed at students from Cumbria and East Lancashire whose circumstances mean they are unlikely to study medicine despite being academically capable, in order to promote social mobility and widen participation.

Working with North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT) and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), the University established the scholarships as part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region, considering the issues both Lancashire and Cumbria have faced around attracting and retaining health professionals.

Rachel said: “I am hoping to work in Cumbria after I graduate.  In West Cumbria there are, in certain areas, a lack of accessibility to services, particularly for older people who need easier access to healthcare and have specialist care needs so there is a skills gap that needs to be filled.

“From my experience, young people living in West Cumbria aren’t readily made aware of opportunities to go to medical school so this scholarship is a fantastic way to inspire students in Cumbria to pursue a career in medicine, and importantly, work in the area once they graduate,” Rachel said.


Rachel Tang, an 18-year-old trainee doctor

By training in the region and supporting their local community in this way we hope that in time these scholars will seek to work in the area after graduation.

Dr Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean and Head of the UCLan School of Medicine, commented: “Dr Kate Granger is remembered for the massive difference she made to patient experience with a small positive step through her ‘Hello – my name is’ campaign.

“We hope that UCLan and NCUHT’s small step in jointly providing this annual scholarship named in her memory will also help in making a positive difference to patient care in the region by providing local students with an opportunity to train in medicine at UCLan and contribute to our outreach and health initiatives in West Cumbria.  By training in the region and supporting their local community in this way we hope that in time these scholars will seek to work in the area after graduation.”

Lyndsey Boardman | 24 January 2018