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Hull York Medical School opens its doors

Posted on 15 September 2003

The first students of the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) begin their studies on Monday 15 September.

Their arrival is a major landmark in nearly three years of work to establish the medical school. HYMS is a partnership between the Universities of Hull and York and the NHS. The Department of Health, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the General Medical Council have also played key roles in establishing HYMS.

The new medical school is a crucial part of national efforts to increase the number of doctors and modernise medical education. North Yorkshire, the East Riding and Northern Lincolnshire was - until now - the largest area in England not to have a medical school. One of the key aims of HYMS is to have a positive effect on doctor recruitment and healthcare in this region.

The founding students will be based at the Universities of Hull or York (68 in Hull, 69 in York), and will have clinical placements at GP surgeries and hospitals in or near the two cities.

Students will work in the community from the beginning of their course in one of several innovative moves from HYMS.

Other striking features of HYMS include an emphasis on evidence-based treatments, efficient use of resources, developing communication skills, and problem-based learning, where students focus on individual medical problems of 'virtual patients' as a starting point in understanding each area of the curriculum. This approach will include 'patient simulators' - people who undertake role-plays as patients to help medical students develop skills in diagnosis and patient-doctor dialogue.

HYMS students will also become well-versed in technology, with video-linked lectures on each campus and computer-based programmes to supplement teaching in anatomy and physiology.

The Dean of HYMS, Professor Bill Gillespie said: "HYMS will be providing a world-class opportunity to study an exciting and forward-thinking curriculum. Many things will be done for the first time over the next five years, but the input of the very first students will be invaluable in getting the details right"

The first students include twins Samantha and Louise Queen from Market Weighton, who will study at York; Philip O'Donnell, 23, who will study at Hull, where he has been working as a civilian in the police force; Chris Ives, 22, who has a degree in Natural Sciences from Durham and will now study at York; and Haseena Ali, 29, who was educated in India and now lives in Hull, where she will be based for her medical degree.

Staff in the NHS welcome the arrival of HYMS:

Graham Rich, Chief Executive of the West Hull Primary Care Trust said: "We believe this is an excellent area in which to live and work and we hope many of the new medics will take up posts here after qualifying. Spending so much time working closely with patients from the outset will produce doctors who understand people's lives and communities."

"The benefits of the medical school are already being felt," said Dr Michael Porte, Medical Director at York Hospitals NHS Trust. "NHS staff in hospitals and GP surgeries have had to work closely together to establish HYMS, cutting across the divide of primary and secondary care. This lays the foundations for more integrated services for patients in the future. We have also formed good working relationships with colleagues in the East Riding and Northern Lincolnshire, which is good for professional development."

"HYMS will raise the standard of healthcare provision for our patients, through improved education, research and better access to a larger local pool of well trained health professionals," said Mark Brearley, Deputy Chief Executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. "The School, combined with the improvements in services and facilities locally from the NHS Plan will provide major benefits to this region."

"The arrival of HYMS will certainly make clinical practice more interesting as the students introduce an element of challenge and questioning," said Dr Robert Markham of Selby and York Primary Care Trust. "Doctors in primary and community care will also be learning as they teach, reviewing their own work more closely and sharing knowledge with other tutors. This can only be to the benefit of our patients."

The formal launch of HYMS takes place on Monday 22 September, when the Chancellors of the two Universities (Dame Janet Baker from York and Lord Armstrong from Hull) will declare it open via a live video-link between York and Hull. Richard Smith, Editor of the British Medical Journal will give the HYMS Inaugural Lecture at 12.15 pm in York.

Notes to editors:

The Hull York Medical School - facts and figures

  • Students
    • 137 new students start on 15 September - 69 in York, 68 in Hull
    • 1,100 applications
    • 15% of entrants are mature
    • 60% are female
    • 20% from the HYMS region (North Yorks, East Riding, Northern Lincs, Hull and York)
  • Staff
    • Dean: Professor Bill Gillespie
    • Director of Medical Education: Professor John Cookson
    • 14 academic staff
    • 18 support staff (IT, admissions, secretarial, managerial etc)
    • 16 problem-based learning tutors
    • 62 clinical tutors
  • Course features
    • Problem-based learning
    • Video-conferencing - linked lectures between the universities
    • Placements in hospitals and in the community from the beginning
    • Focus on evidence-based medicine, communication and management
    • Patient simulators
    • Access to computer-based learning packages, including 3D anatomy, histology, physiology and embryology, to complement practical learning
  • The first week
    • Welcome talks from the Dean and Director of Medical Education
    • Registration
    • Introduction to host University
    •  Lectures on effective learning, professional responsibilities and 'from populations to individuals - and back again'
    • IT and library induction
    • Introduction to problem-based learning
    • Occupational health interviews
    • Social events linking students in Hull and York
  • Clinical placements
    • clinical tutors - staff from acute, primary and community care in the Hull and York areas - have been trained
    • 34 GPs and 28 hospital doctors will be clinical tutors
    • Placements with these doctors will be focused on GP practices and hospitals in or near York and Hull in Year 1. A wider geographical spread of clinical tutors is likely in later years.
  • HYMS accommodation at Hull
    • HYMS students based in the Loxley Building, specially adapted for medical school use
    • 8 problem-based learning rooms with PCs
    • Multi-functional laboratory for physiology practicals, containing 8 power labs
    • Disabled facilities
    • Work begins shortly on other facilities
    • Administrative staff based in the Hertford building
    • Anatomy Museum
    • Ryton Lecture Theatre with video link suite for plenary sessions five times a week
  • The HYMS building at York
    • Movement-sensitive lighting, sensitive temperature system, and disabled facilities throughout the building
    • 8 workrooms, each with 8 to 9 PCs, for students to do problem-based learning and research
    • practical rooms - laboratories and seminar rooms
    • common room for PBL tutors and students
    • Staff offices
    • Interview rooms (for students to interview 'patient simulators')
    • Meeting rooms
    • Conference room with video-conferencing - key link to Hull
    • Space for researchers and postgraduates
    • Lectures and some other teaching will take place in next-door Seebohm Rowntree Building, home to nursing students and students of social policy and social work.
    • Video teaching links and a clinical simulation ward located in the Seebohm Rowntree Building.
  • University staff, NHS staff and HYMS students available for interview Please contact the HYMS Press Office on 01904 432029 for contact details

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153