Shadow Health Secretary visits University of Cumbria


Wes Streeting visit August 2023-5

Discussions included:

  • The Cumbria School of Medicine being developed by the university and Imperial College London
  • University strategic purpose of educating healthcare professionals including nurses, paramedics, midwives, radiographers, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists

The University of Cumbria has welcomed Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Wes Streeting MP, to its Carlisle campus.

With the NHS facing a national staffing crisis and northern England affected by social and health inequalities, Mr Streeting has discovered how the University of Cumbria is supporting national and regional efforts to upskill, reskill and grow the health and social care workforce.

The university’s respected Institute of Health proudly works with a range of employers and partners to provide traditional undergraduate and postgraduate programmes along with continuing professional development (CPD) for existing healthcare professionals, and emerging provision such as apprenticeships in nursing and midwifery.

Last month, the first 200 paramedics to complete a trailblazing apprenticeship developed by the university graduated. The apprenticeship is delivered to existing employees of seven of the 11 ambulance trusts across England, allowing them to upskill and join the NHS frontline.


Wes Streeting visit August 2023-2


Mr Streeting also heard how the University of Cumbria and Imperial College London are developing the Cumbria School of Medicine, and he toured facilities at its Fusehill Street headquarters.

Referenced in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, the Cumbria School of Medicine plans to launch in 2025 as a graduate-entry medical school with a bespoke, specifically designed, co-created curriculum to meet the needs of the region.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan sets out ambitions to double the number of medical school training places, with more places in areas with the greatest shortages, to level up training and help address geographical inequalities.


Wes Streeting visit August 2023-3


It also lays out ambitions to increase adult nursing training places by 92 per cent, taking the total number of places to nearly 38,000 by 2031/32. Increasing the number of registered nurses qualifying via apprenticeships also features, as does expansion of other allied health professions.

Backing the Cumbria School of Medicine, Mr Streeting said: “It will ensure at least 50 new medical school places to train the next generation of doctors our country needs but, perhaps, more importantly what Cumbria needs.

“Cumbria desperately needs more NHS staff. I think this ground-breaking partnership can help deliver it. I’m a strong supporter of it.”

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Health, Environment and Innovation), said: “It has been good to show Mr Streeting what we’re doing at the University of Cumbria in terms of upskilling and providing practitioners into the NHS workforce.

“Discussing our CPD pathways, our great apprenticeship models, and working with community and primary health partners, we’ve been able to show what can be achieved when we work in partnership with our NHS colleagues; and with Imperial College London the Cumbria School of Medicine is our solution to provide a much-needed part of the NHS workforce for our region.”


Wes Streeting visit August 2023-4


Professor Mary Morrell, Interim Head of the Cumbria School of Medicine, said: “We are looking to create an outstanding curriculum for our students. We are creating a bespoke curriculum that serves the needs of the community within Cumbria and I’m really excited that we can do that.”

Mr Streeting was joined by Labour’s Parliamentary candidates Julie Minns, for Carlisle, and Josh MacAlister, for the new west Cumbria constituency of Whitehaven and Workington.


WATCH: Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting MP discusses his visit to the University of Cumbria

WATCH: The University of Cumbria’s Professor Brian Webster-Henderson talks about the visit

WATCH: Professor Mary Morrell, Interim Head of the Cumbria School of Medicine

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