Our local councils in Kent and Medway have been quick to recognise the impact the new Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) will have on their communities, as well as the importance of recruiting a medical workforce more representative of the community it serves. More than half of these councils are now generously supporting local students to access and complete a medical education, by providing a philanthropic scholarship to a promising student from their own region.
The healthcare needs of our local community in Kent and Medway are extremely challenging, characterised by a chronic shortage of GPs, poor doctor to patient ratios, and healthcare provisions struggling with recruitment and retention. KMMS is now proudly on its way to addressing these challenges, having succeeded in opening its doors to its first 108 students in September 2020 in spite of the unexpected challenges of the global pandemic.
Whereas traditional medical schools are often limited in their approach towards widening participation and inclusivity, this innovative new school believes passionately in giving opportunities to talented students from all backgrounds to study medicine. Reflecting this, 37% of the founding cohort were recruited from backgrounds traditionally less well represented in the medical field, helping to widen participation in medicine as well as ensuring that our local NHS remains reflective and understanding of patients’ needs in the future.
Alfie is one of the students in the founding cohort to have been generously supported by a scholarship from Medway Council. Alfie grew up in Medway and studied at Strood Academy before joining KMMS in September 2020. Alfie is the first in his family to go to university and has had a very successful first year at medical school.
Alfie said “As someone from Medway who has always had a big passion for medicine, I am extremely grateful to KMMS for giving me and others from under-represented backgrounds the opportunity to fulfil our dreams. I’m very happy to be holding the Medway Council Scholarship – I’d like to thank them for their generosity and I hope to use this scholarship to succeed as both a medical student and as a future doctor.”
Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, covering Public Health, said: “We hope Alfie enjoyed his first year at medical school. We know how hard he and his fellow students have worked this year given the challenges they have faced helping to support efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were the first local authority to offer a scholarship to the Kent and Medway Medical School and are incredibly proud to be supporting the learning and development of our local young people who aspire to become doctors. Our aim is to enable all our young people to achieve their full potential in life. We aim to put children and young people at the heart of everything we do and our scholarships are just one example of the work we are doing to transform Medway into a Child-Friendly City. The Kent and Medway Medical School is an integral part of the local health care system, it will help to increase the number of GPs, other doctors and clinicians across Kent and Medway able to care for and treat local people.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the medical school for many years to come.”
Professor Chris Holland, Founding Dean of Kent and Medway Medical School said: “The fact that more than half of the councils in Kent and Medway are supporting us with scholarships for local students from backgrounds not traditionally well-represented in medicine is a testament to the strength of support for the medical school in our community. Together we will achieve our vision to be a beacon for first-class medical education and research and to educate doctors from all backgrounds to achieve excellence in person-centred medical care.”
The founding cohort have now finished their first year, incorporating within it six weeks of placements in the local community, and we are keenly anticipating the arrival of our second cohort in September.
We look forward to our remaining Kent and Medway Councils joining their counterparts in this journey to improve the life chances of our talented young people, as well as the future of healthcare in the region.
Find out more about giving to KMMS
Read more at Christ Church Media News Centre
Find out more about The Faculty of Medicine, Health and Social Care