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13 December 2023

King's and the University of Portsmouth to deliver medical degree

King's and the University of Portsmouth will deliver a medical degree through a branch campus to expand opportunities to study medicine in the south of England where there is a severe shortage of general practitioners (GPs).

Shitij and Graham Portsmouth

King's four-year Graduate Entry Medical programme usually accepts 23 students each year. This will be expanded to enrol a further 54 students in Autumn 2024 based at a new King’s branch campus in the University of Portsmouth Medical School. A 2022 Nuffield Trust report highlighted the scarcity of GPs per patient in Portsmouth. Recruitment into both general practice and other specialities is just one of the areas the medical school hopes to help improve.

Portsmouth has higher than average levels of social deprivation, placing significant pressures on both primary and secondary care. This programme seeks to alleviate both in terms of the graduates it produces but also through the wider benefits that a medical school invariably brings to the local community it serves.

The course provides an opportunity for honours-degree biomedical life science graduates to study for a fast-track degree in medicine in four, rather than five years.

The course will be delivered in Portsmouth, leading to a King’s Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree (MBBS) through the expertise of academics from both institutions. The course focuses on integrated medical science with clinical teaching, and on learning in close contact with patients. It builds on the successful partnership between both universities in the delivery of King’s undergraduate dental education.

This exciting new partnership is an unprecedented opportunity for both institutions, combining King’s prestigious and well-respected medical education with the University of Portsmouth’s expertise in rare diseases, genomics and neurology. This dynamic approach to education is part of our ambition to deliver service to society. By co-creating a new medical school in Portsmouth, we will help to redress health disparities in the Portsmouth area and provide the next generation of doctors for the region.

Vice-Chancellor & President of King’s College London, Professor Shitij Kapur

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth Professor Graham Galbraith said: “A medical school in our city is a long-held vision for the University of Portsmouth. Our city does not have adequate numbers of GPs and the intention is that this development will contribute to reducing the waiting times local people experience in gaining access to services.

“The launch of our new graduate entry medical school will enable us to play our part in supporting the health of our community and we are thrilled to be working in partnership with King’s College London to deliver medical education that is unquestionably one of the best not just in Britain, but globally.”

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “It’s clear the NHS remains a strong career destination for the next generation of students and this new partnership will expand opportunities in an area we know is struggling with workforce shortages.

“It will encourage groundbreaking research both regionally and globally, while offering a fast-track medicine degree in four rather than five years, a key commitment in our Long Term Workforce Plan.

“Moving forward, the plan will ensure we can continue to meet patients’ needs now and far into the future, doubling the number of medical school places.”

Portsmouth, a dynamic and culturally rich waterfront city, offers an ideal environment for students. While the University of Portsmouth, recognised for its leadership in simulation technology, offers access to state-of-the-art facilities, including advanced anatomy simulation suites. A recent £2m investment from the Office for Students will further enhance these facilities, creating a cutting-edge learning hub for healthcare students. Clinical education will be provided in local NHS hospitals, community, and general practice settings.

The University has a longstanding collaboration with Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU), focusing on excellence in education, training, and innovation in healthcare for the benefit of our communities. A notable example of this successful partnership is the Portsmouth Technologies Trials Unit, acclaimed for its clinical research in healthcare technologies.

Students will have the opportunity to learn in academic and clinical settings including at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust’s Queen Alexandra Hospital, who will be the lead clinical partner for the new medical school, and with Southern, Solent and IoW NHS Trusts, the region’s GPs and all other regional healthcare bodies and partners.

Shitij and Graham

 Penny Emerit, Chief Executive at Portsmouth Hospitals University (PHU) NHS Trust, said, “Looking for ways to improve access and the experience of our communities has always been important to us and this new medical school will play a big role in achieving that. We are proud of the part we play in the health and wellbeing of the people we care for, as well as being one of the largest employers in the city and hope to encourage students to stay in the area once they graduate.

“Creating opportunities for people to learn and develop locally is important for the future of staffing in the NHS and students will be able to do this alongside some of our incredibly innovative teams and partner organisations, whilst helping provide essential care for our communities. We will continue to work with the Universities and NHS England to deliver on this ambition and look forward to welcoming these new students to PHU.”

Professor Sherria Hoskins, Provost and sponsor of the project at the University of Portsmouth, said: “This new medical school is a collective effort with both our longstanding partners King’s in dentistry and with all of our region’s health care bodies working at the sharp end of improving and safeguarding the health of people in our region.

“At the University, we have a history of opening doors to students who might not have otherwise considered it and the new medical school embraces the same ambition. This new partnership isn’t about just education; it’s a commitment to work together on research to inform medicine and healthcare regionally and globally.”

I am delighted to welcome this collaboration between King’s and University of Portsmouth and associated local NHS providers. This partnership has emerged through close working, building upon a well-established relationship in the provision of placements for King’s Dental students, through the Portsmouth Dental Academy. This new collaboration specifically seeks to strengthen the provision of medical training and delivery in and around Portsmouth.

Professor Richard Trembath, Senior Vice President (Health & Life Sciences) and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners

Dr Lara Alloway, Chief Medical Officer NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: "We are delighted about the new medical school. This is such an important step forward in helping to improve recruitment rates into medical roles, especially general practice locally. It's a fantastic achievement for Portsmouth and we're looking forward to supporting colleagues at this very exciting time."

The branch campus forms part of the University of Portsmouth’s strategic vision to eventually open its own medical school. The branch campus arrangement means that medical students can be trained locally now while the plans for the University of Portsmouth medical school are progressed. Portsmouth aims to take its first intake of medical students in 2028/29.

In this story

Shitij Kapur

Vice-Chancellor & President of King's College London

Richard Trembath

Senior Vice President (Health & Life Sciences) and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners

Nicki  Cohen

Dean of Medical Education (FoLSM)

Russell  Hearn

Reader in Medical Education & Deputy Director of Community Education