MSP pushes for Dumfries and Galloway as site for a new medical school

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper has pushed for a new medical school to be created in Dumfries and Galloway.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 5:08 pm
A new medical school in Dumfries and Galloway could open training to those living in rural areas

Ms Harper raised the matter during her contribution to a Stage 1 debate on the University of St Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill.

As deputy convenor of the Health and Sport Committee, Ms Harper was involved in scrutiny of the Bill and with committee members, produced a short report which suggested evidence presented by NHS recruitment around widening access to medicine be considered.

The Bill aims to remove a prohibition which prevents the University of St Andrew’s from awarding medical and dentistry degrees and repeal a section of the Universities (Scotland) Act 1966 which prevents the university from offering medical programmes.

It will also allow the university to award a joint degree with the University of Dundee for the purposes of the Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) programme.

ScotGEM is Scotland’s first graduate entry programme for medicine with a rural focus and the first cohort of students is expected to graduate in 2022.

In her speech Ms Harper raised awareness of Dumfries and Galloway as a potential location for a new medical school - possibly at the Crichton Campus – which is already home to the Universities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

She said: “I welcome this Bill and its very real implications both for the University of St Andrews and for ScotGEM students – where many are already currently training across Dumfries and Galloway.

“One of the committee’s recommendations was that a new medical school be created to attract talent from across Scotland and I used the opportunity whilst contributing to the debate to reiterate the importance of greater access to medical training for students across Scotland, particularly in rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway.

"I highlighted my support for a future medical school to be created for Dumfries and Galloway. I look forward to continuing to engage with the Cabinet Secretary and with local campaigners on this issue.”