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The University of Southampton

Forty years of educating doctors: Southampton celebrates with new European medical degree

Published: 11 October 2011

Forty years of educating doctors: Southampton celebrates with new European medical degree.

Medical students will be able to undertake a major part of their education in Europe for the first time in the UK, in an innovative new programme announced today (Tuesday, 11 October 2011) by the University of Southampton.

Trainee doctors in their final three years of study will have the opportunity of gaining practical experience in a German hospital, giving them a broad, international perspective on medical care.

The new partnership with health provider, Gesundheit Nordhessen Holding, based in Kassel, will also allow German students to be taught in Southampton before returning to Germany for the latter part of their education.

The launch of the new international partnership comes as the University celebrates the 40th anniversary of its medical school. More than 5000 doctors have now been trained by the University.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Don Nutbeam, says:

“This is a ground-breaking agreement allowing students from Germany and the UK to gain experience in two countries with first-class reputations for medical training. Our goal is to give students the opportunity to gain experience of working internationally. We hope this will broaden their experience of healthcare in different medical systems and will assist them in their future careers as doctors.”

The first students to benefit from the new exchange programme will begin their five year degrees in October 2013. Twenty-four places for German students will be available, and they will spend the first two years of study in Southampton, where they will learn medical theory and techniques and gain practical experience in the NHS. In years three, four and five, they will move back to Germany to continue the practical element of their degree in Kassel Hospital in central Germany, where they will undertake further training after they graduate to gain full registration with the General Medical Council.

Dr Gerhard Sontheimer, of GNH, and the University's Professor Don Nutbeam
A new partnership agreed

UK medical students studying at the University will be also given the opportunity of applying to continue part of their year three and four training in Germany. The students who take part in the exchange must be fluent in German and English.

Professor Iain Cameron, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, says:

“The Southampton medical school has an impressive record of achievement in education, research and enterprise. I am delighted that we are launching this innovative international programme in medical education as we celebrate 40 years of Medicine at the University of Southampton.”

Today’s announcement is another innovation in the University’s pioneering medical degree strategy. The University was the first in the UK to provide a course to identify and support talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have not met the normal "A level" entry requirements to achieve their dream of becoming a doctor. Since its launch in 2002, 160 such students have since gone on to qualify.

Southampton has also been a leading centre of medical research for the last 40 years – with ground-breaking discoveries in cancer research, respiratory treatments such as asthma, nutrition and in understanding the influence of early life events on health and disease in adulthood.

Today’s international exchange agreement was officially signed by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Don Nutbeam, Jürgen Kaiser, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Gesundheit Nordhessen Holding and Deputy Mayor of Kassel, and Dr Gerhard Sontheimer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Gesundheit Nordhessen Holding.

Dr Gerhard Sontheimer adds: “This joint education programme is a fascinating opportunity for medical students to gain experience in both the British and German health care systems. We are very excited to be bringing together the best in transnational educational and clinical resources to build a new generation of highly qualified doctors."

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