THE government is providing funding for places at a city medical school after all despite previous concerns it would not fund a single place.

We can now reveal the Government will fund 50 places at the Three Counties Medical School from next September.

In January, we reported how the Government had not yet funded a single place despite 1,000 applications being made. Instead, 20 UK students, who started this year, are being funded through generous donations from charity, the Kildare Trust, and local NHS trusts.

They have been joined by 24 self-funded international students.

Worcester News: FUNDING: 50 places have been funded at the Three Counties Medical School from next September FUNDING: 50 places have been funded at the Three Counties Medical School from next September (Image: Newsquest)

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, will make the announcement today that the Government is making more than 200 medical school extra places available at universities for next September.

The University of Worcester is one of five in England to receive a provisional allocation.

University of Worcester vice chancellor and chief executive, Professor David Green, said he was 'delighted' by the decision to allocate an initial 50 funded places.

He said: "In the years to come this will make such a positive difference to the people of the Three Counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire together with the Black Country borough of Dudley and Halesowen, all of whom live in such ‘under-doctored’ areas of the country.

"We would like to thank NHS England and all in government and Parliament who have contributed to this most positive decision.”

The first cohort of students began their studies at the university last month.

Professor Green added: “Today’s exciting news would not have been possible without the very strong support of partners in the NHS in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire who, together with the Kildare Trust, provided the initial funds for the first cohort of 20 UK Medical students who started this September, together with the Clive Richards Foundation who funded our state-of-the-art anatomy suite.”

The Government’s new NHS Workforce Plan, announced in the summer, set out a 15-year strategy to boost the national health workforce. Among its targets was to increase the number of UK medical school places from the current 7,500 a year to 10,000 a year by 2028 and double them to 15,000 a year by 2031.

However, the plan did not provide for new medical school places until September 2025.

The university has been campaigning for the government to make places available for next September.

The university’s medical students are based at the new Elizabeth Garrett Anderson building on its Severn Campus, which opened earlier this year in Hylton Road, and features the anatomy suite, along with clinical skills and simulation facilities.

Chief executive of NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Simon Trickett, added: “Training more doctors locally will make a huge difference to the services we can offer local patients and we’d encourage young people who want to be doctors to consider studying here. We’d love them to train locally and then take jobs locally.”

The University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Health and Science, Professor Sally Moyle, said: “Our health programmes are truly multi professional and these places will complement our healthcare portfolio which already encompasses nursing, midwifery, radiography and other essential health disciplines.”

MP for Worcester, Robin Walker, said: “Securing funded places is a huge breakthrough, it means our Three Counties Medical School can start to train the doctors of tomorrow and this will make a massive difference to both recruitment and retention in our local NHS.”