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Health Education England launches new medical degree pilot as part of Blended Learning programme

12 October 2021

Prospective medical students in England will soon be able to choose to study flexibly thanks to a new pilot scheme launched by Health Education England and delivered by Queen Mary University of London.

The new programme aims to give students wanting to complete a medical degree more flexibility over how they study and a greater choice of where the University can provide practice learning opportunities to complete their training.

The programme will be a blend of face-face, online and digital learning to develop theoretical and practical knowledge and skills.

This follows on from the nursing and midwifery blended degree programmes that were introduced by Health Education England in July 2020 and June 2021 respectively.

It is hoped that the blended degree will help to attract medical students from more diverse backgrounds, including those from ethnic minorities, or areas with low numbers of people going to university as well as mature students.

Professor Liz Hughes, Deputy Medical Director at Health Education England, said: “We hope that this pilot will be able to provide the foundation for launching the programme with universities across England, opening up opportunities for many more prospective students to enrol on medical degrees.

“A more flexible approach to learning is key to developing a workforce suited to the demands of a 21st Century health and care service and will ensure that a wider pool of talent will be able to take up the opportunities to join the medical profession.”

Dr Vidushi Golash, Ophthalmology Registrar at Frimley Park Hospital and Senior Clinical Fellow to the Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England said: "This is the first medical degree to be specifically created with digital and tech-enabled tools, allowing for truly flexible, blended and stimulating learning.  Exciting advancements in the way we learn medicine and support students, such as this blended learning medical degree, will contribute to growing a diverse, digitally-empowered workforce for our increasingly complex NHS."

Professor Anthony Warrens, Dean for Education at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London said: “We are delighted to be able to develop further a high-quality blended learning course in Medicine. This is so much in keeping with our QM values of inclusivity and widening participation, areas in which we are already leaders among British medical schools. We have developed a large amount of blended learning already but this will give us the opportunity to move up a gear and make available a medical education, of identical standing to the more conventional degree, to a much wider cross-section of our community.”