A STATE-OF-THE-ART medical training centre is one of the ‘jewels in Copeland’s crown’, says the borough’s Mayor.
Mike Starkie took a tour of the University of Central Lancashire’s Westlakes Campus and its “first class” research and training facilities that are producing the next generation of medical professionals.
Mr Starkie said: “I was delighted to visit the campus once again to tour the cutting-edge facilities and hear about the outstanding work and study that’s taking place to continue ensuring the sustainability of our health service locally.
“I continue to be impressed by the innovative thinking that flourishes in this campus – both from the teachers and the students - and the first class opportunities it is providing for our future medical professionals. It really is deserving of the international reputation it is gaining.
“The West Cumberland Hospital always had a great reputation as a training hospital, and in conjunction with the new hospital, we are seeing groundbreaking improvements here to remote and rural healthcare.”
Pupils from all over the world are being trained at UCLan’s Westlakes Campus, based at Moor Row near Whitehaven, while carrying out on-the-job experience at the West Cumberland Hospital and in local GP surgeries. Many live in Summergrove Halls and others have found rented accommodation in Whitehaven.
Mr Starkie added: “It is also extremely encouraging to hear how welcome students from all over the world are being made to feel here in Copeland.
“The feedback is that parents are more than happy to send their children here to study, knowing that even thousands of miles from home, they will be safe and will become part of the local community.”
The campus is run in collaboration between UCLan, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Courses being run at the campus include a Foundation programme for students which provides the opportunity to feed into the medical degree, in addition to five other health-related programs such as pharmacy, physician associate studies, dental therapy etc. In addition to this, the campus houses medical students , postgraduate programs in physician associate practice, hospitalist medicine and a range of post-graduate programs looking at remote and rural health care, and urgent care, in addition to short courses for healthcare providers.
The School of Nursing is now also recruiting for a number of programmes which will be delivered in Whitehaven, and a programme in dental therapy is also in the planning stages.
Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean & Head of School of Medicine, Faculty of Clinical & Biomedical Sciences, said: “The medical school activities began from very small beginnings just two years ago and we have grown beyond even our own expectations.
“We now have the National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine at our Whitehaven Campus which will be holding its first conference in June of this year. We have been able to achieve all this because of the excellent relationships we have developed with the local NHS Trusts and GPs , the fantastic support they have provided for our activities and the very warm welcome that the area has provided for our students.
“Our aim is not only to help provide a sustainable medical workforce for the area, but also to ensure that West Cumbria leads the way in innovation for excellence in remote and rural medicine and in related research.”
For more information visit www.uclan.ac.uk/westlakes.