First-class result is just the tonic for East Lancashire health economy
Medical student who benefited from prestigious scholarship commits to local role
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) medical scholar is the first to graduate from a prestigious scholarship programme designed to attract and retain local doctors into NHS employment within the East Lancashire region.
Sarah Knowles, 32, has graduated with a first-class degree from UCLan’s Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery (MBBS) programme and will shortly start work as a doctor within Royal Blackburn Hospital.
The former St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy pupil was the first successful recipient of the Mackenzie Scholarship initiative created by the University in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT). The scholarship is part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region.
Sarah felt inspired to pursue her ambition, having worked alongside doctors in a previous healthcare role. “When I was young, I never dreamt that one day I’d become a doctor,” explained the Darwen-based graduate. “However, having worked in a healthcare role previously I saw how varied and rewarding a career in medicine could be.
"I feel privileged to be the first graduate to have benefited from this scholarship. I was born in Blackburn and it’s an honour to now be working there as a doctor helping care for my local community"— First Mackenzie Scholarship graduate Sarah Knowles
“The scholarship opportunity at UCLan was perfect for me because it meant I didn’t have to move away from my family and friends and obviously the funding provided by the scholarship was also a key factor.
“I started medicine aged 27 and at times had to put my life ‘on hold’ but it’s certainly been worth it. I’ve met fellow medical students from across the world and I’ve benefited by being exposed to different cultures and treating patients from various walks of life.
“I feel privileged to be the first graduate to have benefited from this scholarship. I was born in Blackburn and it’s an honour to now be working there as a doctor helping care for my local community.”
Emma Dawkins, Associate Director of Organisational Development at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, said: “We're delighted to be welcoming Sarah to our team and congratulate her on achieving a first class degree.
“We have many rewarding careers to offer at ELHT and hope Sarah's story will inspire others to consider working in healthcare.
“The Mackenzie Scholarship is one way we are supporting people on their career journey and it is exciting to see our first graduate from this programme. We see the development of homegrown talent like Sarah as hugely significant as we tackle health inequalities across Pennine Lancashire.”