Health Education England (HEE) have launched a new, more flexible medical degree pilot scheme, set to be delivered by Queen Mary University of London.
The new programme will aim to give prospective medical students in England the opportunity to have more flexibility over how they study and a greater choice of where the University can provide practice learning opportunities to complete their training.
The new programme will be a blend of face-to-face, online and digital learning to develop theoretical and practical knowledge and skills.
This follows on from the nursing and midwifery blended degree programmes that were introduced by HEE in July 2020 and June 2021 respectively.
These blended degrees are hoped to attract medical students from more diverse backgrounds, including those from ethnic minorities, or areas with low rates of university attendance.
It is also hoped that it may open the door further to mature students, who may have life commitments which limit them from taking up a traditional study course.
With ongoing workforce shortages across the health service, finding alternative routes into the profession and ways to support a broader range of people to consider careers has been seen as a significant opportunity.
Professor Liz Hughes, Deputy Medical Director at Health Education England, said: “We hope that this pilot will be able to provide the foundation for launching the programme with universities across England, opening up opportunities for many more prospective students to enrol on medical degrees.
“A more flexible approach to learning is key to developing a workforce suited to the demands of a 21st Century health and care service and will ensure that a wider pool of talent will be able to take up the opportunities to join the medical profession.”
Professor Anthony Warrens, Dean for Education at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, added: “We are delighted to be able to develop further a high-quality blended learning course in Medicine.
“This is so much in keeping with our QM values of inclusivity and widening participation, areas in which we are already leaders among British medical schools.
“We have developed a large amount of blended learning already, but this will give us the opportunity to move up a gear and make available a medical education, of identical standing to the more conventional degree, to a much wider cross-section of our community.”