The future of Burnley General Hospital looks a lot more healthy with the news it will become a centre for the training of young medics.
The Burnley Express can reveal that Burnley General Hospital is set to be a “University Teaching Hospital” after agreeing a deal with the University of Central Lancashire to offer its facilities for the training of the institution’s new medical students.
The hope is that these young medics will form a connection with the local area and be more likely to stay when their training is complete.Julie Cooper
UCLan, which opened a campus in Burnley in 2009, is set to open its first Medical School in the town and will also be offering scholarships for its medicine degree, aimed specifically at students living in East Lancashire.
Burnley MP Julie Cooper, who has just been appointed Shadow Health Minister, said the agreement would help secure the future of Burnley General.
She said: “This is brilliant news for Burnley. There are so many benefits to this arrangement, not only to the university and the hospital, but to the borough as a whole.
“It is not unusual for universities to work closely with hospitals. The hope is that these young medics will form a connection with the local area and be more likely to stay when their training is complete.”
Mrs Cooper, who has promised to use her new role as Shadow Health Minister to put pressure on the government over the NHS, added that she was confident Burnley General’s future was now secure, but would continue to fight.
She added: “I have developed a reputation for pestering people, particularly in the last year on the health select committee.
“My new role will give me easy access to the decision-makers. On a wider level, this agreement with UCLan may also help to attract consultants to Burnley as it will allow them to share their expertise.
“When it comes to problems around recruitment of hospital doctors, GPs and consultants, there is no better solution than to train our own.
“Attracting more consultants into the area would go some way to reduce waiting times and national experience shows that Teaching hospitals find it easier to recruit multi-disciplinary consultants.”
Dr Damien Lynch, consultant physician and director for undergraduate education at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted to be working with UCLan as its main provider of medical undergraduate education and training as part of the new MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree programme.
“We have a well-established reputation for undergraduate and postgraduate education and are confident that ‘teaching hospital’ status will help both Burnley General and Royal Blackburn hospitals to attract and retain high quality clinical staff.”
Professor Cathy Jackson, head of the University of Central Lancashire Medical School, said: “We are delighted our students are able to work within the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust because they are receiving hands-on practical training within busy hospital environments in addition to the theoretical teaching in our state-of-the-art-facilities.
“We are also working with the Trust to look at ways to fund local students to come to study medicine at UCLan, their local university. To that end we have established two full scholarship opportunities, partly funded by two regional trusts, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.
“In addition, we are in negotiations with other NHS Trusts to look at commissioned places for Lancashire–wide students to study medicine with us. The Trusts have identified a need and are looking to us to help meet that need and are prepared to help pay for the solution, especially attracting local students from diverse backgrounds to work in the local health economy.”