Launch of new medical programme in UK aims to help address global doctor shortage

Launch of new medical programme in UK aims to help address global doctor shortage Banner Image

Official opening of the AUC on UCLan's Preston Campus

Collaboration between American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and University of Central Lancashire’s School of Medicine serves medical students from around the world

As many countries experience a worsening shortage of doctors, two universities are partnering to offer hope in a new programme based in the United Kingdom. Today, leaders from American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) School of Medicine gathered with dignitaries for a ribbon cutting to celebrate their partnership aimed at educating medical students from around the world.  

The universities are offering students a postgraduate diploma in International Medical Sciences (PGIMS) from UCLan’s School of Medicine, delivered at the University’s Preston Campus, followed by the Doctor of Medicine (MD) postgraduate degree from AUC School of Medicine. The new programme will serve as a hub to educate an international group of students, many from nations struggling to supply enough doctors to keep up with population demands. 

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates a shortage of 4.3 million physicians, nurses and other health workers by 2030, with the 31 countries comprising the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development bracing for a collective physician shortage of 750,000. In the UK, there are currently 12,000 vacancies for doctors. The US is expected to see doctor shortages soar to greater than 120,000 in the next 10 years and 15% of Canadians said they don’t have a regular health care provider.     

“The global shortage of doctors is quickly approaching crisis levels. This shared public health issue heralds the necessity for international collaboration and innovation,” said Dr Heidi Chumley, Executive Dean, AUC School of Medicine. “We are proud to stand with our partners at UCLan in the creation of this new programme, drawing students from around the globe, helping educate the next generation of doctors.”

Today, side-by-side with UCLan, we’re committing to train an international array of students to go forth and improve healthcare outcomes for children, individuals, families and communities

“Today, side-by-side with UCLan, we’re committing to train an international array of students to go forth and improve healthcare outcomes for children, individuals, families and communities,” said Dr Carol Herbert, Chair of the Board of Trustees, AUC School of Medicine. “We’re committing to work tirelessly toward achieving health equity around the globe, one doctor at a time. Because, doing nothing is not an option.”

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor at UCLan, said: “Fundamentally, the best doctors are those equipped with the skills and outlook to thrive in any country or environment across the world.

“Now, with AUC School of Medicine committing themselves to a base here at UCLan, I feel very optimistic that together we can have a real impact in supplying the next generation of graduates to help solve the chronic skills shortages which have plagued, not just the North West, but countries across the world.

“I can only see our growing relationship with AUC School of Medicine strengthening and developing with new avenues for collaborative working being established in both teaching and research.”

David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, added: “The official opening of an AUC School of Medicine base here at UCLan is truly symbolic of a new era in our joint strategy for medical education. Our region will benefit from a constant supply of very high calibre professionals who could work in our local hospitals adding their energy, enthusiasm and expertise to help patients and service users as well as playing a vital role in supporting our health economy.”  

The two universities began working together in 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Irma, when AUC School of Medicine’s Sint Maarten campus was devastated along with the rest of the nation and UCLan and the city of Preston provided a temporary home for the students to continue their medical education.

Photo above: From l-r David Taylor, UCLan Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board; Dr Heidi Chumley, Executive Dean of the AUC School of Medicine; Preston Mayor Councillor David Borrow; Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor at UCLan; and Dr Carol Herbert, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the AUC School of Medicine.

Chris Theobald | 17 October 2019