Changes to the UK and Ireland's medical school map aren't new. If you visit the CMF student office, and sit on the sofa recently installed by Rachel, our Head of Student Ministries, you will be looking directly at a large wooden shield decorated with twelve smaller shields, one for each of the London medical schools at the time of production. Although some of the sporting rivalries remain, mergers have seen that number reduced to five larger institutions over the past 30 years.
The first formal UK medical school was established in Edinburgh in 1726, but there are records of apprenticeship style training at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London dating back to 1123. Ireland was ahead of the UK in this regard, with a medical school starting at Trinity College, Dublin in 1711. The last significant expansion of medical training in the UK was in the early 2000s when Brighton, Keele, Warwick, HYMS and Norwich medical schools all opened. There are now active CMF groups in all these schools.
Further expansion is ongoing, with new schools at Buckingham, Aston (in Birmingham), University of Central Lancashire and Anglia Ruskin (ARU) already taking students. Courses in Canterbury, Lincoln, Sunderland and Edge Hill Universities have also been approved by Health Education England, as well as expansions at existing schools. (1)
While there may be questions about exactly where the new students will undertake clinical placements, CMF's main aim is to establish groups on each of these campuses. We will do this through our already strong links with UCCF and aim to meet medical students via CUs initially, offering support from the office and making links with local doctors.
As well as praying for the new schools, please put us in touch with anyone you know who is starting at, or on one of the new courses, or anyone you should find yourself sharing a clinical placement with.
Essex's first medical school has opened its doors this September to its first intake. The 100 students pioneering the new faculty join the established school of nursing and the CMF group already present there. Given the geographically widespread nature of the ARU students, membership of the Christian Union is small, but is supported by local churches and the university associate pastor in putting on welcome and evangelistic events for the new students. The hope is that having a new cohort based onsite will give more of a base for ministry on campus. We look forward to welcoming students into the CU and hopefully CMF. We have already had a great time linking with the new student nurses and medics at the fresher's fair and sharing some CMF resources.
Points for prayer
- The continued growth of CMF groups within ARU and new students to pair with the current members at the university.
- For new and current members to develop links with the Christian Union, and to find support and a home at local churches.
- For the many overseas students joining us in Chelmsford, that they would know the comfort and security of Jesus, even whilst so far from home.
1. New medical schools to open to train doctors of the future. Health Education England March 2018 bit.ly/2OaSJyA