The University of Cumbria and Imperial College London are working together to launch a new graduate entry medical school in Carlisle.
The new school, which aims to enrol its first 50 students in autumn 2025, will train new doctors for Cumbria and North West England to transform healthcare in local communities.
This partnership between Imperial College London and University of Cumbria will help level up opportunity and train more doctors in the North West. Sajid Javid Health and Social Care Secretary
Imperial’s medical school is one of the best in the world. This partnership aims to unite that strength 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.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This partnership between Imperial College London and University of Cumbria will help level up opportunity and train more doctors in the North West.
“The new medical school supports our ambition to grow the workforce and already there are 1,500 more medical school places – a 25% increase – and five new medical schools across the country since 2017.
“Our doctors have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to care for us and our loved ones, and it is this dedication that is inspiring the next generation.”
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. The school will be situated in an area of England where the recruitment and retention of medical staff is a significant challenge.
University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell said: “In addition to attracting and retaining new doctors for Cumbria and North West England, the joint medical school will allow us to develop collaborative research programmes in areas such as health and social inequalities.
“The University of Cumbria was established to play a significant role in increasing higher education participation and addressing the higher-level education and skills needs of Cumbria and the region. This continues to drive us, and we look forward to working with colleagues at Imperial College London to realise a new medical school in North Cumbria.”
Professor Alice Gast, Imperial President, said: “This exciting new partnership between Imperial and the University of Cumbria presents an incredible opportunity to combine the resources and expertise of both our institutions to educate the doctors that are needed for Cumbria and the North West of England. Our shared vision is to also develop a range of local research programmes in these demographically different areas. I look forward to seeing this partnership flourish over the coming months and years."
The new school aims to drive innovation in medical education, transforming the way medicine is taught and delivered. The development of a course specifically designed to meet the needs of the region will support medical education with a true community focus. Students will receive the best possible preparation for medical practice in the future NHS through inter-professional, community-based learning that harnesses local resources and the use of digital technologies.
A track record of excellence in medical education
The school will train forward-thinking doctors, through a specifically tailored course, delivered by a multi-professional team. Its graduates will be respectful and flexible doctors, able to apply scientific principles and clinical reasoning to Cumbria’s complex healthcare needs.
It will enhance clinical care in a range of healthcare settings in Cumbria and the North West of England by increasing the numbers of medical students, their educators, scientists, and new doctors in the region.
Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Health, Environment & Innovation), the University of Cumbria’s lead on this strategic initiative said: “This significant partnership will enable us to expand our diverse health care portfolio to include medicine for the first time, and develop joint research programmes to address many of the county’s unique challenges.
“The new school’s location will have the dual benefit of opening up more opportunities to study medicine in the North West, and provide a steady stream of trained doctors for the region."
Mr Martin Lupton, Vice Dean (Education), at Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine said: “Nearly 2,500 years ago Plato said that ‘The measure of a man is what they do with power’. The measure of a great UK institution is the positive impact it has on our national and international community.
“In order to help redress imbalances in social deprivation, health inequality and medical staff shortages across the country, the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London have committed to co-create a new medical school in Carlisle. Our two institutions are complementary, bringing their own unique set of attributes to the collaboration, and share a common mission to improve the health and well-being of the people of Cumbria and the North West through education and research.”
Community healthcare focus
The school’s medical students will gain clinical experience through partnerships with local NHS providers across the region. A sustainable supply of medical professionals will benefit the local health and social care economy following the school’s establishment. It will educate and train generalist doctors who are grounded in the scientific method to deliver healthcare in community-based, rural, and disadvantaged settings where health and social inequalities are well documented.
By the time the students qualify they will be embedded into the local integrated care system, encouraging them to continue living and working in the region after graduation.
Professor Liz Hughes MBE, Deputy Medical Director (Undergraduate Education), Health Education England, said: “The most important resource the NHS has is its people and we are very pleased to be able to support development of these proposals that will create a new medical school helping to train more doctors.
"It is a great opportunity to work with the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London to help reduce health inequalities by better meeting local patient needs through delivery of high-quality clinical placements and improving access to the medical workforce in this area both now and in the future.”
In addition to the new medical school, the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London are also planning a range of local, collaborative research programmes in the North West and London.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
Mr Al McCartney
Faculty of Medicine Centre
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