South East LEP backs Kent and Medway’s first medical school with £4m funding

The South East LEP has agreed to provide £4m from the Local Growth Fund, with a second tranche of £4m to be considered in the future.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has agreed to provide the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University with £4m of Local Growth Fund (LGF) capital for the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), which is being delivered as a joint venture between the two universities. KMMS will work closely with NHS providers right across Kent and Medway.

The South East LEP Accountability Board made the decision at its latest meeting on 15 November 2019, after the LEP’s Investment Panel identified the project as a priority.

The two universities are seeking a total of £8m from the LGF towards the delivery of the project. A second tranche of £4m has been identified within the pipeline, should additional LGF funds become available.

When complete, KMMS will be the first medical school in Kent and Medway, providing a centre in the region for medical education and research to develop the area’s health workforce, and address the growing need for medical professionals in the area due to rapid housing and population growth.

KMMS students will study in purpose-built facilities on both Canterbury Christ Church University’s and the University of Kent’s Canterbury campuses and undertake placements within GP practices and NHS hospitals across Kent and Medway.   This will contribute to the development of the ‘medical corridor’ envisaged by the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

At Christ Church, students will study in a new Science, Technology, Health, Engineering and Medicine facility. This will include lecture theatres, an anatomy learning centre and a high-definition hospital simulation suite.  At Kent there will be a dedicated KMMS building which will house lecture theatres, IT suites, seminar rooms, Kent and Medway’s first simulated GP suite, meeting rooms and office space.

From 2020 KMMS will offer 100 places per year. All students at the medical school will use both sites, with the project expected to initially support 100 undergraduates per year with the potential for further growth to meet regional needs, and with additional capacity for postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development education.

South East LEP Chair Christian Brodie said: ‘The delivery of Kent’s first medical school will strengthen the entirety of the South East LEP area’s STEM offering, making it an even more desirable place to study and work in this highly skilled field by complementing the other educational facilities in this sector across the patch.

‘The South East LEP is very pleased to be able to support such an important addition to Kent’s educational landscape. This investment, and this new school, will help attract the very best talent in this field, as well as supporting the local community by providing a boost in highly trained medical professionals serving the rapidly growing population in the area.’

Founding Dean of KMMS, Chris Holland said: ‘This capital donation towards KMMS from the SELEP is fantastic and really underpins our joint ambition to transform the health care provision in Kent and Medway.  We look forward to working together as the medical school develops.’