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Tuesday 26 October 2021

UCLan medical scholarship will allow clinician to fulfil dream of becoming a doctor

Dr Kate Granger Scholarship awarded in memory of doctor behind the #HelloMyNameIs campaign

A clinician based at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven has been awarded a scholarship to fulfil his life-long dream of becoming a doctor.

Simon Pritchard, who has worked at the hospital since he qualified as a physician associate (PA) in 2018, has been awarded the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) 2021 Dr Kate Granger Scholarship, which covers all tuition fees for the duration of the five-year MBBS Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery degree at the University.

It means Simon will return to study at UCLan for the fourth time, having completed a postgraduate certificate in medical education last year, being part of the University’s first ever physician associate cohort three years ago and gaining an undergraduate degree in sports science in 2014.

"Becoming a doctor has always been a dream and I feel ready to take this next step in my career."

The 2021 UCLan Dr Kate Granger Scholarship recipient Simon Pritchard

The 29-year-old, who originally hails from Chester, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my career as a physician associate, working in a close-knit hospital and community where I’ve seen an excellent continuity of care.

“My experience as a PA means I have a good grounding in the medical profession and understand how interprofessional relationships can work to bring maximum benefits to patients. Becoming a doctor has always been a dream and I feel ready to take this next step in my career.”

The Kate Granger Scholarship was established specifically for Cumbrian students to honour the memory of the doctor behind the #hellomynameis campaign, who campaigned for better patient care while suffering from terminal cancer.

“It is a huge privilege to be offered a scholarship in Dr Granger’s name and be part of her legacy” Simon said. “Her focus on patient-centred, compassionate care is something I feel strongly about.”

"Simon has been an incredible asset to our department and to the Trust in his role as a physician associate."

Dr Katie Poulton, consultant and clinical lead of acute medicine at West Cumberland Hospital

The Scholarship is one of two medical degree scholarships offered by the University aimed at students based in Cumbria and East Lancashire, with a focus on promoting social mobility and widening participation.

Working with North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, 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.

Dr Katie Poulton, consultant and clinical lead of acute medicine at West Cumberland Hospital, was Simon’s clinical and educational supervisor. She said: “Simon has been an incredible asset to our department and to the Trust in his role as a physician associate.

“He is hard-working, ambitious and is absolutely dedicated to ensuring our patients receive the best care possible. He is a keen teacher and has worked alongside many of our newer team members and students, helping develop their confidence and providing excellent learning opportunities.

“We all wish Simon the very best in his future career and hope to welcome him back in the not too distant future, this time on placement as a medical student.”

"We all wish Simon the very best in his future career and hope to welcome him back in the not too distant future, this time on placement as a medical student."

Dr Katie Poulton, consultant and clinical lead of acute medicine at West Cumberland Hospital

Simon, who lived in Whitehaven for almost four years during his career as a PA and played for Whitehaven Amateur Football Club, will complete some of his training within North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust during his five-year course. He hopes to eventually specialise in neurology and acute medicine.

Simon added: “I’m an ambitious person and ultimately I want to work as a consultant in this specialist field as it’s something I’m very passionate about.”