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21 September 2017, 16:38 | Updated: 21 September 2017, 16:39
Anglia Ruskin University has received official confirmation that it can open Essex's first undergraduate School of Medicine to train the county's doctors of the future.
The General Medical Council (GMC) has approved Anglia Ruskin's medical education programme, meaning the university now officially has School of Medicine status.
Construction of the School of Medicine building at Anglia Ruskin's Chelmsford campus, including specialist teaching facilities, is well under way and, subject to receiving Government-funded student places, the first students will start their degree in September 2018.
Last year it was announced that the Government would fund an additional 1,500 training places through medical schools each year from 2018. Anglia Ruskin University will be bidding for a number of these places and, if successful, aspires to recruit a significant number of students from the East of England.
Dr Ruth Jackson, Pro Vice Chancellor for the School of Medicine Development, said: "We are passionate about making a significant contribution to the medical workforce in Essex.
"At the moment, there is no pathway in Essex for the most able students in regional schools to practice medicine. We hope that the School of Medicine will change this and help the county and wider region to train and retain its own doctors.
"The road to GMC approval is, quite correctly, a lengthy and rigorous process and we are delighted that our medical education programme has met these stringent requirements. We will continue to work closely with the GMC once the programme is under way."
Professor Iain Martin, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said: "The Anglia Ruskin medical programme has reached this key stage through the hard work of our team and the commitment of our healthcare partners across Essex.
"Building on our expertise in educating a wide range of healthcare professionals the new medical programme will help to ensure that our region can meet the workforce needs of the healthcare system into the future.
"We believe that we have a very robust case indeed for receiving an allocation of the soon-to-be-announced new medical student places."