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First doctors graduate from Peninsula Medical School

First doctors to graduate from Peninsula Medical SchoolThe first doctors to graduate from the Peninsula Medical School have done so at a ceremony at the University of Exeter on Friday 13th July. Peninsula Medical School graduations will alternate between the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth, with Plymouth hosting the 2008 graduation ceremony.

The first cohort of medical students began their studies in 2002 and have followed and helped to refine a new curriculum that embraces groundbreaking approaches to the teaching of medicine. After five years of study and practical experience in real clinical situations throughout the Westcountry, 88 new doctors graduated on Friday, 67 of whom will stay in the Westcountry to practise at the region's five main hospitals. Seven have passed with distinction.

In all, five will practise at the North Devon NHS Hospital Trust, 19 at Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust, 20 at the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospitals Trust, 18 at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Hospital Trust, and five at South Devon NHS Hospitals Trust. The remainder have chosen to practise at other hospitals around the UK.

Initial recruitment to Foundation Year 1, the first year after graduation, has been successful for the Peninsula Medical School's first doctors, with 94.5 per cent of them obtaining the positions for which they had applied.

Undergraduate retention has also been successful, with the Peninsula Medical School experiencing a drop out rate of 4.5 per cent compared with the national average of 12 per cent.

In addition to the Peninsula Medical School graduates, who received a Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery, the Peninsula Postgraduate Health Institute awarded 26 accolades. The Peninsula Medical School also conferred an honorary graduateship to Professor Dame Carol Black, Chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Past President of the Royal College of Physicians.

Interest in the Peninsula Medical School has grown year on year, and currently 11 applicants chase each new undergraduate place. In January 2006 the School was competitively awarded an extra 33 undergraduate places to meet the demands of the health service, bringing the cohort size to 214 students.

As well as training and nurturing the doctors of tomorrow, the Peninsula Medical School also contributes to national and international medical research at the highest levels. Its research is recognised in areas such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, MS, complementary therapies, genetics, vascular cell biology, childhood obesity and endocrinology.

Its diabetes research team won international acclaim this year when they contributed to the work that identified the so-called FTO 'fat gene'.

Professor Sir John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School, commented: "My congratulations go to our first cohort of graduating doctors. Their commitment to the course they have completed and to medicine has been exemplary, and we look forward to tracing their future careers with great interest."

Sir John continued: "My thanks go to all our partners, local politicians and the people of the West Country who helped the Peninsula Medical School become a reality, and who have supported us thus far in our development. Particular thanks go to our partners at the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and the NHS who have shared with us the vision which has created the fine medical school we know today."

The Peninsula Medical School is a joint entity of the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth with support from the NHS in the Westcountry.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).


Editor's notes:


William Headdon
William 'Billy' Headdon, 23, came to the Peninsula Medical School straight from Truro College. Billy is one of the School's seven graduates to pass with distinction, and he will be returning to Truro to work in paediatrics at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Treliske, Truro. He said: "I have enjoyed the steadily increasing workload over the past five years, and I have especially enjoyed the fifth year when we have been involved with clinical teams in local hospitals. I am really pleased to be working in Truro."

Feisa Radford
Feisa Radford, 37, did a foundation course at the University of Plymouth before beginning her studies at the Peninsula Medical School. Before that she was a physiotherapy assistant at North Devon District Hospital. Feisa said: "The Peninsula Medical School has really prepared us well for our first placements in hospitals. The five years have gone in a flash, and they have enabled me to realise a dream I have had for years." Feisa will join North Devon District Hospital where she will work in general surgery and colorectal. She added: "I am delighted to be working in North Devon, an area I love. The hospital will give me a plethora of experience working with the local community and visitors during the tourist season."

Sabeel Saleem
Sabeel, aged 39 and originally from Malaysia, has made Plymouth his home. He and his wife moved to Plymouth from Croydon so he could study at the Peninsula Medical School – his wife is a medical secretary at Derriford Hospital. Said Sabeel: "The last five years have been amazing and a rollercoaster ride. In years one and two I worked a 20-hour a week part-time job on top of my studies, in the third year I commuted to Exeter everyday, in year four I did my elective in Canada and Barbados, and in year five I enjoyed placements in the South West – and every single part of the experience was worth it." He added: "I love Plymouth and I am looking forward to working at Derriford Hospital. I am starting out in general transplant surgery, then moving on to paediatrics and then care of the elderly."

Alan Holman
Alan, 37, joined the Peninsula Medical School as a qualified mechanical engineer and from a position where he was project manager on international projects for a large advertising company. Alan, who is from Plymouth and is married with a six-year-old daughter, will be joining Derriford Hospital where he will be working in general transplant surgery. He said: "I am delighted to be working at Derriford. It will be a challenge and a good place to cut my teeth."

Lorraine Hutchinson-Gale
Lorraine Hutchinson-Gale, 42, started her course as a trained nurse with a science degree. Lorraine is married to a doctor and has four children, James, 19, Lucy, 16, Emily, 12, and Oliver 10. Lucy is keen to follow in her parents' footsteps by training to be a doctor.

Said Lorraine: "The course has been full of challenges. We were exposed to the clinical area at an early stage in our studies, and this combined with the way in which we have been taught and the emphasis that has been placed on developing communication skills, means that we are all feeling confident and competent about our first jobs in medicine. I have discussed this many times with my husband, who has on more than one occasion said that he wished he had been taught medicine as I have been."

Lorraine will practise at Torbay Hospital in the gastric surgery department. She said: "I am really looking forward to being a part of the hospital and to putting my training to good use to the benefit of patients and my colleagues."

David McGregor
David McGregor, 40, will start his career as a doctor at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in upper gastrointestinal surgery. He will be working in A&E over the Christmas period in acute liaison psychiatry and general medicine. Before his studies David was the principle orthotist at the Exeter Mobility Centre, where he continued to work part time throughout his studies. Said David: "I have found the course very enjoyable, and it is very flexible for mature students like myself."


Department of Health
"When the Peninsula Medical School was established it was one of a number
of schools to bring in new ideas and innovations to the education and
training of our young doctors. It has been a remarkable success and it is
welcome news that so many of the new doctors will be serving in the West
Country which will benefit greatly from their skills."
Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer

"Congratulations to everyone concerned with the Peninsula Medical School including not just the first crop of students but also the academics, clinical and other staff who made it possible. I am very pleased to have been instrumental in setting up the Medical School and my confidence that it would be a success has been amply justified. To establish such a complex institution as a new medical school is a remarkable achievement by all concerned.
The R. Hon. Frank Dobson MP, then Secretary of State when the Peninsula Medical School was set up

Local Hospital Trusts
"We are delighted as a hospital trust to be welcoming our own 'home grown' doctors who are familiar with our organisation and what we are trying to achieve. We have been anticipating the arrival of doctors trained at the Peninsula Medical School for some time, and we are very pleased that they are here now."
Mr Terence Lewis, Medical Director, Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust

"We are delighted that our on going partnership with the Peninsula Medical School is reaping benefits for local people. It is particularly encouraging that so many of the doctors want to continue their careers serving patients in the South West. This speaks volumes for the quality of education and their learning experience in local hospitals."
Angela Pedder, Chief Executive, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

"The South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to be employing some of the first graduates of the Peninsula Medical School here at Torbay Hospital. This is an exciting landmark both regionally and nationally and the fruit of many years of hard work and innovation. South Devon Healthcare has been actively involved in the development and delivery of the course and believes that these pioneers will be the first of many to join our workforce in the future."
Dr John Lowes, Director of Education and Consultant Gastroenterologist, Torbay Hospital

"My colleagues and I at the North Devon NHS Hospital Trust are delighted to be welcoming our first home grown doctors from the first graduating cohort at the Peninsula Medical School. They would have already spent some time with us as part of their studies so we are confident that they will understand our commitment to the highest levels of care – which is good news for their new colleagues already at the hospital and for our patients. My personal congratulations go to the 88 graduates and to the people who have worked so hard to get them where they are today."
Jac Kelly, Chief Executive, North Devon NHS Hospital Trust

Local Members of Parliament

"I congratulate everyone - especially the first new graduates - on reaching this important milestone in the life of the Peninsula Medical School which already has a deservedly high reputation. It is good also to know that almost all of the new graduates have secured the jobs they applied for - and that three quarters of them will be working in hospitals in Devon and Cornwall. I wish them well in their future careers and look forward to joining them at their graduation ceremony."
Linda Gilroy MP, Plymouth Sutton

"The Peninsula Medical School is rapidly becoming a centre of excellence of which we can all be proud. Well done to all those involved."
Gary Streeter MP, South West Devon

"The Peninsula Medical School is doing an outstanding job in providing the South West with much needed doctors. What is especially pleasing is the fact that such a high percentage of the graduates have found placements with hospitals in Devon and Cornwall. I think the school and its students should be rightly proud of the contribution they are making to the medical needs of the region. The achievements of this first round of graduating doctors are highly encouraging for the future."
Nick Harvey MP, North Devon

"I am delighted to hear of the success of the students, it stands as a testament to the quality of the education that has been provided at the Peninsula Medical School. The number graduates obtaining positions, and the retention of the majority in Devon and Cornwall, further underlines the success of the school. I would like to offer my congratulations to all the staff and the new graduates." Colin Breed MP, South East Cornwall

"Congratulations to everyone graduating from Peninsula Medical School. I send my very best wishes for your future careers."
Angela Browning MP, Tiverton and Honiton

"I am delighted that Torbay Hospital has been given the opportunity to play a small role in the success of the Peninsula Medical School and pleased that Torbay will benefit form the School's high standards."
Adrian Sanders MP, Torbay

"I am delighted that over two thirds of the Peninsula Medical School graduates have obtained placements at hospitals in Devon and Cornwall. It is marvellous we will have our own doctors trained in Devon and now working in Devon."
Anthony Steen MP, Totnes

"Having been closely involved in setting up medical training in Truro it's great to see it being such a success for Cornwall. It is absolutely wonderful that we now have the facilities to train these – clearly highly sought after – doctors, and it is also fantastic that many of them will be starting their careers right here at home. I know that there have been some major national problems for newly qualified doctors trying to secure work, and that's why the news that the majority of these graduates have been successful is very encouraging. They will be a great asset to Treliske, and, indeed across the county."
Matthew Taylor MP, Truro and St Austell

"The results have been fantastic, enhancing the Medical School's already excellent reputation. More importantly there is clear evidence that the graduates are staying in the South West. Keeping this pool of skilled people in the South West is vitally important if we are to meet the growing health needs of our region as well as further develop our medical and health science sector."
Alison Seabeck MP, Plymouth Devonport

Statement from Professor Dame Carol Black
Professor Dame Carol Black, Chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Past President of the Royal College of Physicians, will be honoured at the first graduation ceremony for Peninsula Medical School students.

Dame Carol expressed her delight and pride in coming to receive the Honorary Doctorate in Science at this, the first graduation ceremony for Peninsula Medical School students.

She recalled "that the Medical School was designed round the three pillars that give the National Health Service a unique quality and strength: the medical science, education and training, and clinical service. The foundations of clinical practice and service, innovation and improvement, are built up from clinical and basic sciences, behavioural and social sciences, and the research that underpins them." And, she reminded us, "they are enriched by the humanities."

"Doctors must have the knowledge and understanding to bring this science and art to the care of patients. Patients are best served by doctors whose minds are well prepared – prepared for sound clinical reasoning within humane encounters."

Dame Carol observed too that "the experience of education – of learning – in this School is generating a research base. And research must inform the shaping and reshaping, and delivery of services."

"From its foundation seven years ago, the Peninsula Medical School has shared these aims in its partnership with the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall. They are an example to all of us and together they signal the promise of ever improving health and social care in the Peninsula."


Over the past five years the first doctors to graduate from the Peninsula Medical School have used the following items in their training:

3,380 pairs of examination gloves
1,170 pairs of sterile surgeon's gloves
650 sterile surgical gowns
2,990 syringes
4,485 hypodermic needles
2,600 sutures inserted into 650 lacerations
64 litres of simulated blood (the equivalent of 11.5 whole bodies)
82 simulated arms containing 143 metres of arteries and veins
403 DVD-Rs used to record 75,400 minutes (or 1,256 hours) of interviews and feedback
130 condoms used in sexual lifestyle advice training
42.9 litres of alcohol hand rub, used to wash hands 14,300 times

and practised:

1,040 cardiac arrests, involving 56,500 chest compressions and 7,533 artificial ventilations
3,770 simulated patient interviews, consisting of 37,700 minutes (or 628 hours) of listening


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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