It’s official: GMC accreditation for doctors’ programme to help transform lives across Lancashire, the North West and beyond

3 March 2020

University of Central Lancashire’s School of Medicine added to the General Medical Council’s list of bodies approved to award UK medical degrees

Following the completion of a rigorous quality assurance process lasting five years, the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) School of Medicine has been granted degree-awarding powers by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The landmark decision was confirmed by the GMC at its meeting on 27 February with UCLan’s School of Medicine being added to the GMC’s website listing of institutions approved to award a primary medical qualification.

The announcement marks an important milestone in the development of UCLan’s School of Medicine which opened in 2015 with a small cohort of full fee-paying international students. Since those early days the School has grown dramatically with now more than 1,000 UK and international students studying on a range of programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

In July 2020, the first 27 students from the Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme are hoping to graduate with all 27 planning to live and work in the UK.

The UCLan MBBS programme builds upon UCLan’s heritage in dentistry, nursing and pharmacy courses, representing a crucial part of the overall solution to fill the urgent skills gap that currently exists in areas such as East Lancashire and West Cumbria. 

Commenting on the GMC endorsement Professor Cathy Jackson, Head of UCLan’s School of Medicine, said: “Receiving the seal of approval from the GMC for our MBBS programme is fantastic news. Colleagues in the School have worked incredibly hard to make this happen while the support we’ve received from partner organisations such as North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has been crucial.

"Building on our expertise in educating a wide range of healthcare professionals, our MBBS programme will help to ensure our region can meet the workforce needs of the healthcare models of the future."

“We have achieved something truly unique by developing the first brand new medical curriculum in many years where our students benefit from patient contact within the second week of the programme. Over 70 percent of our UK student doctors are from widening access backgrounds* and we have trained them not only to be knowledgeable, empathetic and reflective but to accurately represent the populations they will serve.

“We’ve gone from an intake of 35 students a year to 150, developed a comprehensive postgraduate portfolio, opened the very successful National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine** and we’ve done it all in five years.”

UCLan’s Professor StJohn Crean, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), played a key role in the early development and launch of the MBBS programme. He added: “Gaining GMC approval is, quite appropriately, a rigorous and lengthy process but we are delighted that our medical programme has met these stringent requirements.

“Building on our expertise in educating a wide range of healthcare professionals, our MBBS programme will help to ensure our region can meet the workforce needs of the healthcare models of the future.”

UCLan is the largest provider of health and social care education in Lancashire and Cumbria and is one of only five universities in the country delivering medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, complemented by a wide-range of other health-related subjects such as nursing, midwifery and paramedic practice.

Professor Colin Melville, the General Medical Council’s Medical Director and Director of Education and Standards, said: “The GMC has high standards and a very rigorous process before a new medical school can be approved to award primary medical qualifications to its students. UCLan has worked hard, over a number of years, to meet our quality assurance standards.

“It is as a result of that hard work that it has now achieved this status, and so from this summer UCLan’s medical school graduates will be added to our register and be able to join the UK’s medical workforce.”