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UEA proposes training places to provide more doctors for the East

10 April 2024

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The University of East Anglia (UEA) today (Wednesday 10 April) announced a new and innovative route to fast-track qualified doctors into jobs in the region and beyond, with the launch of a new Graduate Entry Medical course.

The new four-year course is one-year faster than a standard medical degree course, without compromising on quality. It will be available to applicants from September 2025 and was announced at an event hosted by UEA focusing on tackling health inequalities, which featured speeches from Government Health Minister, Dame Andrea Leadsom MP; Jerome Mayhew, MP for Broadland; and the new Chief Executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Prof Lesley Dwyer.

UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Maguire said: “UEA is concerned about health inequalities across the eastern region and, in our 60th anniversary year, we think it is important to invest in providing more teaching opportunities for health professionals to improve people’s access to future NHS services. The course will equip newly qualified doctors with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle health inequalities across the east of England, particularly those associated with rural and coastal areas.”

The announcement of the course was made at the ‘Tackling Health Inequalities in the East of England’ event, in which Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, Start for Life and Primary Care gave the keynote speech.

‘Dental desert’

At the event, Prof Maguire also reaffirmed UEA’s commitment to the University’s proposal to provide a Norwich dental school for the Eastern region.

East Anglia is the only region of England that does not have a dental school and consequently the region struggles to recruit and retain dentists, making it the most underserved area in the UK for dental care. According to recent data from the Local Government Association, Norfolk and Waveney has one of the lowest numbers of dentists per 10,000 people in the country.

Prof Maguire said: “Parts of East Anglia are among the worst ‘dental deserts’ in the country, and to provide the next generation of dentists for our region, UEA is proposing a new dental school.

“We welcome the Government’s plan to increase the number of undergraduate dental training places. In considering the establishment of new dental schools in underserved areas, we are asking the Government to allocate the new dentistry undergraduate places to East Anglia, where a new dental school can have the greatest impact.”

Primary Care Minister, Andrea Leadsom, said: “We are taking bold action to improve access to dental care for all and our Dental Recovery Plan sets out how we are creating as many as 2.5 million extra appointments this year alone.

“We’re offering dentists £20,000 golden hellos to work in underserved areas and we will be rolling out mobile dental vans to rural and coastal areas where access is more difficult.

“Our long term plans also include strengthening the dental workforce by creating thousands of new training places and making it easier for dentists who trained overseas to work here, ensuring everyone can access a dental appointment when and where they need it.”

A welcome decision

Jerome Mayhew, MP for Broadland, said: “The best way to increase access to dentists and doctors is to train our young people here in the county. It is why we need a dental training school at the UEA and this decision to offer the Graduate Entry for Medicine is so welcome.”

The Graduate Entry Medical course will be held in the University’s Norwich Medical School, with medical students on the course based at Norwich Research Park and given unique access to the state-of-the-art facilities at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

The students will also benefit from the immersive teaching spaces, improved preparation areas, and high-tech teaching facilities in the new Anatomy Suite, which is set to open in April 2025 in the Queen’s Building on UEA campus.

Image: From left to right: Rt Hon Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, Health Minister; Prof David Maguire; Cllr Kay Mason-Billig, Leader of Norfolk County Council.

The story was originally posted on our partner, the UEA, on their website here.

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