Medical student leaders are keeping a watchful eye on the opening of another UK private medical school.
Aston University has announced plans for a new medical school on its campus in Birmingham, which will open to students in the autumn of 2017.
It is the third such venture in the UK after Buckingham University, which is opening the private Buckingham Milton Keynes medical school to its first cohort of students in January, and the University of Central Lancashire, which will take students from September.
Aston medical school will accommodate 100 students a year including 20 scholarship places for students from ‘hard to reach communities’ in Birmingham and the Black Country. Fees from the international students will help to subsidise the scholarship places.
The school will receive very limited funding from Higher Education Funding Council for England for the five-year course.
BMA medical students committee joint deputy chair Samantha Dolan (pictured above) said: ‘We are reassured by Aston’s commitment to widening access to the profession by ensuring that there will be 20 scholarships directly available to local students, widening access being an important part of the MSC’s agenda.
‘However, we await more details on the opening of yet another private medical school and its potential impact on clinical placements already used by existing Birmingham medical students and an oversubscribed foundation programme.’
The school will also include a research institute focused on vascular disease and women’s health including pre-natal conditions and problems during pregnancy.
Pro vice-chancellor for health at Aston University Asif Ahmed said: ‘The Aston medical school will create local doctors for the local region and will undertake research capable of addressing the region’s serious health inequalities.
‘Birmingham as a city has an extremely young population and shockingly its infant mortality rate is 60 per cent above the national UK average. This serious problem and others, such as high levels of obesity and early death rates, are all regional and UK-wide issues that we want to address through our training and research.’
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