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Aston Medical School gets go-ahead to recruit its first medical undergraduates

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  • School successfully completed latest stage in GMC quality assurance process
  • First cohort to include local students on widening participation programme
  • Undergraduates to embark on five years of study for medical degree from September 2018
Aston Medical School at Aston University officially opens its doors in September 2018 to its first medical undergraduates on a five-year study programme for an MBChB Medicine degree.

The first cohort will be made up of international students as well as 20 per cent of the 99 local students currently on the School’s innovative Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme who achieve the entry criteria.  

Student recruitment follows the School’s application to the General Medical Council (GMC) which sets rigorous standards and undertakes regular monitoring of all medical schools in the UK.

The application is subject to the GMC’s stringent quality assurance programme. An inspection team recently visited the university to assess the School’s proposed programme of study and facilities, the expertise of its staff and its ability to provide adequate clinical experience for students.  

Having successfully completed this stage of the rigorous process, the GMC has now committed to undertaking a programme of further quality assurance, including annual visits and following the first cohort of students as they progress through their course until they graduate in 2023. 

Professor Asif Ahmed, Aston University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Health and Executive Dean of Aston Medical School, said: “I am delighted Aston Medical School has successfully passed the GMC process to take in medical students. I am very proud of my team but this was truly a team effort across the whole university. There is great excitement amongst our students and staff to be able to start recruiting undergraduate medical students on to our MBChB degree course starting in September 2018.

“The General Medical Council’s quality assurance process for all new medical schools is rigorous and exhaustive, and rightly so, as patient safety is paramount for us all. Medical qualifications gained in the UK are recognised, valued and respected worldwide. The GMC ensures all medical schools in the UK are held to the standards ‘promoting excellence’ in medical education and training.”

Aston University has submitted proposals to Birmingham City Council to transform a wing of a building on the Gosta Green edge of the campus into a purpose-designed medical school at a cost of £15 million. The building was previously the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and acquired by Aston University in 2012.

The Pathway to Healthcare programme, which is giving more than 90 young people from disadvantaged circumstances across Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull the chance of a future career in medicine and other healthcare professions, is being sponsored by well-known philanthropist and former Aston Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis.  

The first cohort of school and college pupils are just completing the first year of the two-year learning and development programme with short placements at local hospitals, GP practices, clinical research units and other healthcare settings.

The innovative programme aims to inspire other people to aspire to careers in medicine or another healthcare profession through a range of activities including support with the university application process and interviews, an intensive A Level revision “boot camp,” medical taster days, workshops and research projects.

The first cohort’s first year culminated with a residential summer school from 25-27 July at Aston University, supported by the Royal Society for Public Health. The students will participate in an emergency response conference and public health recovery scenarios, work on an ethics project and develop presentations that they will present to an audience including their parents and supporters on the final day.