The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has cemented its position at the heart of the region’s health and social care training by forming a strategic alliance with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT).
The 10-year agreement between the two organisations means they will work together to meet the region’s healthcare needs and enable the NHS workforce in Lancashire to work at an optimum level, directly benefitting the patients of East Lancashire.
UCLan already trains doctors in the area, in partnership with ELHT. As an area with acute medical workforce needs, the long-term strategic alliance will deliver clinical placements, joint research programmes across Pennine Lancashire and shared academic and clinical staff posts.
In addition, the University has announced it will offer two scholarships for its medicine degree from September as part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region. One of these is specifically for UK students from East Lancashire whose circumstances mean they are unlikely to study medicine despite being academically capable, in order to promote social mobility and widen participation.
The strategic alliance partnership was announced at a joint regional medical education conference organised by UCLan and ELHT with a keynote speech from Professor Ian Cumming, Health Education England Chief Executive.
Speaking at the event, the Head of UCLan’s School of Medicine Professor Cathy Jackson said: “This is a significant step forward in our relationship with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. It will provide an opportunity for our students to practice in the diverse region of East Lancashire and support the local health care economy.
“By introducing joint clinical and academic posts we aim to attract some of the world’s leading doctors to the region, which is an area that suffers from some of the worst health inequalities in the UK.”
UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas commented: “As a leading University committed to transforming lives, we are working with ELHT to meet skills demands in East Lancashire’s healthcare economy.
“At the University, we adopt a ‘one health approach’, which is based around end-to-end health provision which puts the patient at the centre of care. The University provides healthcare professionals across a broad range of disciplines including medicine, paramedic practice, nursing, physician associates, midwifery, mental health, physiotherapy, pharmacy and dentistry. Our aim is to provide highly skilled practitioners who can operate within an integrated care approach to improve the health and wellbeing of our community.”
Kevin McGee, Chief Executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are really excited that our two institutions have joined together in this important strategic alliance and for our future collaborations. At East Lancashire Hospitals Trust we are committed in supporting our local community, and what better way to do this than to create a partnership to train and educate aspiring clinicians who will go on to care for our patients. By combining our significant expertise and organisational influence we will be able to continue the drive in improving patient care across East Lancashire.
“The alliance has already created a unique learning opportunity through the Mackenzie Scholarship. This provides a living bursary for one successful candidate on the UCLan MBBMS (Bachelor Medicine, Bachelor Surgery) five year programme, which includes a clinical placement at ELHT. This scholarship shows our joint commitment to clinical education, research and creating strong career choices for local students.”
Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, Chair of the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for Lancashire and South Cumbria, told the medical education conference how the University and ELHT can work together to improve the large health inequalities in the region within the financial resources available; delivering robust community services, strong GP services and hospital interventions.
“We need enough of the right sort of staff in the right places when we need them and we need new models of care and a new model of workforce to deliver it,” she said. “We are working with UCLan to identify options and develop workforce in a flexible way. It provides us with a great opportunity to change the way we work to enable us to find regional people who want to work here. A home grown, home developed workforce who can build relationships with practitioners in the area and stay and work here.”