“I think the University has established a new benchmark for medical education”

Pioneering University of Sunderland health facilities which are helping create the next generation of medics were today praised by the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Labour Party politician Wes Streeting was given a tour of the University’s multimillion-pound medical operation, including the new £4m Anatomy Centre which opened this month.

Mr Streeting was joined on the visit by Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Philipson, who is Shadow Secretary of State for Education, and Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.

He said: “I have been blown away by what we have seen at the University, they can be really proud of the medical school, what they are doing here I think is genuinely pioneering in terms of the immersive experience that they give to aspiring doctors and nurses, not just the knowledge and the skills but the experience that they will leave the university with.

“I think the University have established a new benchmark for medical education which is one of the reasons I have been keen to visit.”

During his visit to the simulation hospital ward in the University’s Helen Mcardle House, Mr Streeting met Adult Nursing student Stacey Stamp.

Stacey, 37, from Sunderland, spent 12 years in the Navy before deciding to apply to train as a nurse.

She said: “The facilities here are brilliant, they provide you with a safe and expert environment to train in which really gets you ready for the job.

“I’ve recently finished a nine-week placement in the Urology department at Sunderland Royal Hospital which has been helpful in getting me thinking about the type of role I want to go into.

“It has been hard work. I’m a mum-of-two trying to juggle motherhood with training fulltime, but it is definitely worth the effort and there’s a lot of help out there for people like me to get into nursing.”

Stacey told Mr Streeting how the facilities at the simulation facilities at the University were crucial in ensuring students got the very best hands-on training.

The MP also spoke with a class of medical students at the University’s new Anatomy Centre. He discovered that many of the students were originally from the North East – and intended to remain in the region once they had qualified.

One of the aims of the School of Medicine, which only opened in 2019, was to play a role in helping retain north-east trained doctors within the region.

Speaking to the class, Mr Streeting said: “I’m interested to hear that so many of you are planning to stay in the area. That’s encouraging as we have a big challenge in terms of health inequalities and making sure the right people are in the right places.”

The party of MPs, who were joined by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, were also shown the specially-designed maternity and post-natal suites which allow medical students to train in as realistic an environment as possible.

The visit gave the Member of Parliament for Ilford North the chance to hear how almost 100% of nursing graduates end up working in the region, re-enforcing the University’s strategic aim to be a professions-facing, career-focused institution.

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