THE FIRST GRADUATE medical programme in Scotland aimed at meeting current and future needs of the NHS will be delivered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.
UHI will join Dundee and St Andrews in delivering the new Scottish Graduate Entry Medical Programme (ScotGEM) – a four-year programme that can accommodate up to 50 students each year.
Subject to approval from the General Medical Council, the new programme will begin in the 2018/19 academic year. It will have a particular focus on recruitment of Scottish graduates to increase the likelihood of trainees remaining in Scotland, particularly in more rural and remote areas.
The decision was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, in a speech to NHS Scotland yesterday.
Ms Robison said: “I am delighted to announce that the medical schools in St Andrews and Dundee will deliver Scotland’s first graduate entry programme for medicine, in collaboration with the University of the Highlands and Islands and partner health boards.
“Scotland’s first graduate entry programme in medicine was one of a number of initiatives announced by the First Minister earlier this year and it forms part of our commitment to create a more sustainable medical workforce and encourage more people into a career in healthcare, whatever their background.
“This course will enhance the range of medical education already available in Scotland through our five world-leading medical schools.”
Responding to the challenge for the health service in remote and rural locations, the project will work closely with the University of the Highlands and Islands, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Highland.
Professor Crichton Lang, Deputy Principal of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said, “We are excited to have been selected as one of the universities which will deliver the Scottish Graduate Entry Medical Programme.
“Through the initiative, a significant number of medical students will access and undertake the majority of their training in communities around the Highlands and Islands region.
“This will both align with and contribute to our existing work in addressing remote and rural healthcare and will be another important strand in the development of our School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.”
David Stewart, a Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, including Moray, moved quickly to congratulate the UHI on being chosen to deliver the programme.
He said: “This is fantastic news for the UHI. This programme not only helps to develop our NHS but will also enhance the UHI’s existing work in addressing remote and rural healthcare and will be another important development of the School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.
“On top of this, it will provide the medical students with the opportunity to undertake the majority of their training in communities around the Highlands and Islands, and I am sure, one they have the taste of life in the north, they won’t want to leave.”