This month marks the tenth anniversary of the first students qualifying as junior doctors from Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia (UEA) (pictured above). The landmark is being celebrated with a reunion dinner at Carrow Road on 15 July for the 108 graduates of the “Class of 2007”.
Since the first enrolment in 2002, 1,259 doctors have qualified from the Medical School, which now takes 176 students a year.
“We’re immensely proud of all our students, past and present, and the way the School has gone from strength to strength,” said Prof Michael Frenneaux, Dean of the Medical School. “We’ve not only grown in numbers but have also increased the courses we offer, including enabling students to take a foundation year or study for a Masters in Clinical Science, Clinical Education or Health Economics. Other landmarks include the opening of the Bob Champion Research and Education Building in 2015, which enables our medical students to work alongside our world-class researchers.”
In 2014 the Medical School was rated number one for producing the best-prepared doctors by the General Medical Council’s national survey of foundation doctors, and a report by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2015* applauded its three-day residential course aimed at encouraging 16 and 17-year-olds from lower income backgrounds to consider a career in medicine.
“This has been a hugely exciting few years for our course, with ongoing development of the teaching to keep it contemporary,” said Dr Tarnya Marshall, Consultant Rheumatologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer. “It is a great delight to work with Norwich-qualified doctors and to see them flourish in clinical practice.”
Graduates from the Class of 2007 are now pursuing medical careers including general practice, palliative care, paediatrics, emergency medicine, rehabilitation in the Ministry of Defence, research and training. Many have remained in Norwich or the East of England but some are as far afield a Switzerland and North America.
One of the graduates, Dr Cathryn Ruddock, is a GP Training Programme Director for Health East of England and a locum. “UEA is a great place to study and live – there are plenty of opportunities for those prepared to work hard,” she said. “The most important lesson I learned was never to give up and to keep pushing myself. As a trainer helping GPs through their professional exams, it’s easy to pick out a UEA graduate!”
Dr Anna Williams is an Emergency Medicine Specialist Doctor in the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) based at the University Hospital of South Manchester. “I always wanted to do emergency medicine and the best thing about this job is that I get to fly!” she said. “The environment can be tough at times but I’m proud of achieving every goal I’ve set myself. I would tell anyone who is considering studying Medicine at UEA to go for it – medicine has opened so many doors for me.”
Prof Amanda Howe, Professor of Primary Care at Norwich Medical School, a GP at Bowthorpe Surgery and President of the World Organisation of Family Doctors, was one of the Medical School’s founders. “Graduation day 2007 was an amazing experience – it was so rewarding to see the first cohort of students receive their degrees before heading out to pursue their careers. They had put their faith in us, and we all worked really hard together to meet the challenges of doing something new and different. Their motivation and resilience should have stood them in good stead for serving patients, and we look forward very much to hearing about their current lives.”
*GMC State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK 2014