Edinburgh offers med school places for health workers

The University of Edinburgh is to launch an innovative scheme that enables NHS professionals working in Scotland to retrain as doctors

The Scottish Government is to fund 25 new places at Edinburgh Medical School that will allow trainees to keep working while they study.

The programme – the first of its kind in the UK – has been designed to help address the shortage of doctors in Scotland.

Students will study part-time for the first three years, mostly through online learning, enabling them to continue working in their current location and post. They will complete a further two years of full time clinical study in Edinburgh before graduating with a full MBChB degree, enabling them to register with the General Medical Council.

Before the scheme, health professionals such as nurses and paramedics who wanted to retrain as doctors were required to complete a full-time undergraduate degree programme.

By combining new technologies and traditional medical teaching in general practice and hospital settings, we hope to reduce barriers that have previously deterred people from moving between health professions

The new programme, set to launch in 2019, recognises that many health professionals have already acquired clinical knowledge and skills that are relevant to practising as a doctor. It is designed to widen access and target candidates who are more likely to be retained in NHS Scotland.

The new course builds on experience from Edinburgh Medical School’s existing successful postgraduate online Masters programmes for healthcare professionals. 

Professor Moira Whyte, Head of the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, said: “By combining new technologies and traditional medical teaching in general practice and hospital settings, we hope to reduce barriers that have previously deterred people from moving between health professions. We expect the scheme will make an important contribution to addressing doctor shortages across Scotland.”

The Scottish Government has announced it will fund 85 additional places at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow through innovative new undergraduate medical courses. Each of the new courses will focus on general practice, supporting the Scottish Government’s aims to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over the next decade.