An East Lancashire MP has praised a university for delivering more medical training places for students wanting to work in the healthcare industry.  

In his role as Minister of State at the Department for Health and Social Care, Pendle MP, Andrew Stephenson has praised the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) medical school following the announcement that additional places will be offered at the institution.

In October 2023, the government announced that it would fund 205 additional places for medical students from autumn 2024 as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Some of these additional places will be located at UCLan, which was ranked top for medicine in the North West in the 2021 Guardian University Guide.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan was published in July 2023 and will see the NHS train and retain more staff over the next 15 years.

It included a commitment to double the number of domestic medical school, GP and adult nurse training places from 7,500 to 15,000 by 2031, with more places available in parts of the country with the greatest NHS staff shortages.

This could lead to an extra 60,000 doctors, 170,000 more nurses and 71,000 more health professionals by 2037.

Lancashire Telegraph: MP Andrew Stephenson visiting UCLanMP Andrew Stephenson visiting UCLan (Image: UK Gov)

A previous expansion in medical training places took place between 2018 and 2020, which saw the number of medical school places in England increase by 25 per cent.

Five new medical schools were also created, including Ormskirk’s Edge Hill University.

Mr Stephenson began working with UCLan on delivering additional medical places in 2017, in his role as the MP for Pendle.

Following a visit to their Preston site in his role as a Minister, he said: “Having worked closely with UCLan on their plans to offer more medical training places over several years, I was delighted to visit them again in my capacity as a Health Minister.

“It was reassuring to see how much progress they have made and can make in future. 

“The expansion will see more medical students at their Burnley campus as well as the Preston campus. 

“We know the NHS’s workforce requirements will continue to grow and that additional medical training places are needed.

"That’s why the government is planning to double medical training places by 2031, building on the 25 per cent increase since 2018.

“Equally, I know that there are many more ambitious students across the North West keen to pursue rewarding medical careers than there are currently places for.

“UCLan’s Vice Chancellor, Graham Baldwin says told me they get around 50 applications from students across the North West for each place.

“That’s why UCLan has such an important role to play. They deserve praise for their desire to expand to offer more opportunities to local medical students, supporting them and the NHS as it grows to meet the country’s current and future healthcare needs.”