Milestone for pioneering Medical School

September 28th, 2010

In October 1970, 48 new students started their course at The University of Nottingham — our first ever medical students. Forty years later, the Medical School celebrates its anniversary.

The idea for a Medical School at Nottingham was first mooted after World War II. Healthcare in the East Midlands was badly under-resourced. But it was not until a grant was awarded in 1964 that the University was able to establish the first new Medical School in England in the 20th century.

The School grew from humble beginnings in the cowsheds and caravan behind the Portland Building on University Park, where it was based before the QMC was opened in 1977. Its foundation was led by the inspirational Prof David Greenfield (Hon LLD 1997) and a team of enthusiastic and talented professors and teaching clinicians. Together they pioneered an innovative medical curriculum which became a model for clinical and academic success worldwide.

One of the first cohort, Dr Deborah Bliss, now a Nottingham GP, said: “The course was groundbreaking from the start, with students meeting real patients on the wards from the first term. This was quite different from what was going on in the established schools.”

Alumnus Prof David Walker (Medicine 1975) is now Professor of Paediatric Oncology at the University and Chair of the Pickering Association, which fosters cultural, professional and academic relations between the University, alumni, and present students and staff.

He said: “The University was keen for feedback on the degree and we met regularly with staff to discuss it. With the very early exposure to clinical training there was a feeling we were on a revolutionary course. Our alumni are now leading healthcare institutions and practice across the East Midlands and beyond.”

The Medical School now takes around 265 students on the undergraduate course and a further 90 post-graduate students on the fast-track Graduate Medicine course at Derby City General.

Associate Dean for Medical Education, Prof James Lowe, said: “Our most recent evaluation by the GMC in 2009 was excellent. We now use cutting-edge educational methods, including a simulation centre to give students vital experience to develop their skills.”

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Prof Ian Hall, said: “To mark the 40th anniversary the School is staging a day of guest lectures on October 15th. The speakers include our distinguished Boots Professor Sir Peter Rubin, chair of the GMC, who will give a talk called ‘Doctors aren’t what they used to be!’. The keynote speaker is the Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Prof Sir John Savill, who will discuss ‘The Future of Academic Medicine’.”

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