Launch of the Pears Cumbria School of Medicine

Imperial College London and the University of Cumbria, with philanthropic support from Pears Foundation, have come together to create the Pears Cumbria School of Medicine.

6th November 2023

The School, which will open its doors and welcome its first 50 graduate-entry medical students in autumn 2025, will play a key role in training new doctors for Cumbria and North West England to help transform healthcare in these communities.

The partnership is the result of a shared vision to train more medical professionals to serve their local communities, in regions with the greatest need.

Cited in the 2023 NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, The Pears Cumbria School of Medicine will play a key role in the Government’s ambitions to double medical school places by 2031/32.

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “We are proud to partner with the University of Cumbria to train the next generation of doctors who will provide world-class clinical care for the local community.

“This important milestone brings us one step closer to achieving our vision, and we are very grateful to Pears Foundation for their generous support which is helping to bring the school to life.”

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell said: “We are enormously grateful for the support from Pears Foundation which enables us to take our plans forward in creating The Pears Cumbria School of Medicine. As we move towards 2030, our vision is to transform lives and livelihoods through learning, applied research and practice – for now and for our future generations.

“We work in and through student, educational, employer, sector and place-based partnerships and collaborations, co-creating approaches, content and solutions which meet our student and stakeholder needs. The Pears Cumbria School of Medicine in partnership with Imperial College London is one such example of this.”

The University of Cumbria and Imperial announced the ambition to create the new medical school in April 2022 and Pears Foundation has gifted £5 million to support its development and launch.

The School will be situated in Carlisle, where the recruitment and retention of medical staff is a significant challenge. It will offer a four-year graduate-entry programme with a bespoke curriculum, specifically designed to meet the needs of the region and created in partnership with regional NHS partners.

Led by Professor Mary Morrell, the new School of Medicine brings together Imperial’s reputation as one of the world’s best medical schools with the University of Cumbria’s expertise in the education of nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals to improve the region’s access to world-class clinical care.

Students at The Pears Cumbria School of Medicine will benefit from exposure to clinical practice early within their training. This will be complemented by campus-based medical sciences teaching, incorporating clinical skills training and multi-professional learning. They will also complete a community-based prevention and healthcare delivery project.

The School’s personalised professional development tutoring programme will support students’ progress and career development, alongside a wealth of resources to structure their learning and inspire innovation in medicine and healthcare.

Professor Morrell, Head of The Pears Cumbria School of Medicine, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that generous support from Pears Foundation has helped to make our new medical school for Cumbria a reality.

“We are so excited that we will welcome students to this bespoke, innovative and research-informed, graduate-entry medical school in 2025.”

Sir Trevor Pears, Executive Chair of Pears Foundation, said: “The vision for the Pears Cumbria School of Medicine – train doctors with a specifically local medical expertise – is incredibly compelling. It is hugely exciting to be playing a role in opening a medical school in a place that is markedly ‘under-doctored’.

“The opportunity to join forces with a university with genuine international scientific pedigree and another with incredible expertise in recruiting and training local healthcare key workers was too compelling to miss.

“Pears Foundation makes long term investments in initiatives that we believe will have meaningful and in-depth impacts. This is something we are sure the new Pears Cumbria School of Medicine will achieve. And it will also place Cumbria in the vanguard of the way we think about the future of the NHS.”

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