Friarage doctors training boost welcomed by Rishi Sunak

An increase in the number of doctor training places which will mean more young medics working at Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital has been welcomed by Richmond MP Rishi Sunak.

Hull York Medical School has been allocated an additional 75 doctor training places as part of an extra 1,500 places across the country announced by the Government last week.

Mr Sunak wrote in support of the Hull York bid to train more doctors in Yorkshire.

Both Hull York and the medical school at Newcastle University will place students with the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the Friarage as part of their training.

In his supporting letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which pays for young doctors' training, Mr Sunak said the increased student numbers would enable the trust to invest in doctor training at the Friarage.

This would increase the number of trainee doctors on site and because many doctors continue working in the places where they train, potentially increase the number of qualified doctors wanting to work in Northallerton in the future.

Una Macleod, Professor of Primary Care Medicine at Hull York Medical School, said the announcement was great news for doctor training in Yorkshire.

“We will have an extra 25 doctors start their training this year and another additional 65 next year – that’s a 69 per cent in training places – from the 130 places in 2017 to 220 in 2019.

“Working with the NHS trusts in our region – including South Tees – we have developed an innovative and rigorous programme designed to respond to the challenges faced by hospitals in Yorkshire.

“The expansion enables us to inspire doctors of the future who will be fully prepared for clinical practice and able to treat patients from a variety of backgrounds and with varying needs and in a range of settings.”

Prof Macleod thanked Mr Sunak for backing the Hull York bid so forcefully.

The news was also welcomed by Prof Andrew Owens, Medical Director (Education, Research and Innovation) at the South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Friarage.

He said: “This really excellent news will mean more medical students working at the Friarage as part of their training and learning about practice in a rural district hospital.”

Mr Sunak said local training places were vital for the future of the Friarage Hospital.

“We know that where doctors train influences where they ultimately work,” he said.

“The extra funding that increased student numbers brings will enable the Trust to invest further at educational infrastructure at the Friarage site. Crucially, it will also expand the pool of doctors who might work at the site in the future."

Doctor recruitment is a major challenge at the Friarage. The South Tees Trust will publish proposals later this year about changes to services at the hospital because of a long-running difficulty recruiting anaesthetists. Mr Sunak fears this could lead to downgrading of the existing service.