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University appoints GP to lead new medical school

A part-time GP is to head up the University of Sunderland’s new medical school when it opens next year.

Professor Scott Wilkes, a professor of general practice and primary care at the university and a part-time GP in North Tyneside, will oversee the new school’s teaching, research and engagement with local NHS organisations.

The medical school at the University of Sunderland, which is set to open in September 2019, is one of five new medical schools to launch across England as part of efforts to boost training places by 1,500 by 2020.

According to the university, trainee doctors are anticipated to specialise largely in general practice or psychiatry, which may help to address the chronic shortage of doctors in the north east.

The university already delivers clinical education in pharmacy, nursing, paramedic practice and biomedical science.

Professor Wilkes said: ‘I’m honoured and thrilled to lead the school of medicine. I have every confidence that the school will build on Sunderland’s existing strengths to deliver the clinical training necessary to support the highest quality of health care.’

Professor Wilkes has spent more than 10 years leading the primary care specialty group for the NIHR Clinical Research Network, North East and North Cumbria. He is also a member of the Society for Academic Primary Care.

Professor Michael Young, deputy vice-chancellor (academic), said: ‘Scott’s impressive achievements over his 30-plus year career made him the ideal candidate to lead our school of medicine and deliver outstanding teaching and research that will have a real impact on the region’s health and wellbeing.’