Charitable organisations, grant funders and philanthropic donors whose gifts and grants are helping to build one of England’s new medical schools have taken turf-cutting honours at a ceremony to mark the start of construction.
More than £21 million is being invested to create the Lincoln Medical School building at the University of Lincoln, providing a dedicated new facility to train the doctors of the future and address historic skills gaps in the regional NHS workforce.
The five-storey building will comprise lecture theatres, laboratories, clinical and pro-section anatomy suites equipped with leading-edge diagnostic tools, and a dedicated science library. Core features include a clinical skills suite with mock consultation rooms, simulating hospital wards or a GP surgery, with the latest technologies to provide high quality teaching.
Until now, Lincolnshire was the largest English county without a medical school of its own.
Scheduled for completion in spring 2021, the Lincoln Medical School building – located in the heart of the University’s Brayford Pool Campus – will be one of the most sustainable of its kind in the world, featuring photovoltaic panels generating electricity for its laboratories and a ‘green wall’ to aid energy efficiency.
Contributions towards the capital project include grant funding of almost £5 million from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) via the Government’s Growth Deal announced in January 2018. The University of Lincoln will also commit substantial capital spending.
A major fund-raising initiative was launched last summer to help further fund the facility, with businesses, charitable trusts, and individuals invited to contribute to this once-in-a-lifetime project. More than £2.5 million in philanthropic gifts and grants has been raised to date.
These donations will help construct and equip the medical school building, as well as creating opportunities for local students through bursaries.
Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, said: “Creating a medical school for Lincolnshire has been an aspiration for many years and we are now realising that goal.
“The ceremonial turf-cutting is a milestone moment for people with a passion for the future of healthcare in Lincolnshire, and we are grateful for the immense efforts of all those organisations and individuals who have helped to get here – including our generous funders and donors.
“Our ambition is to create a building our whole community can be proud of, and which will serve the people of Lincolnshire for generations to come.”
Ursula Lidbetter OBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The Lincoln Medical School will drive growth and productivity throughout the health and care sector, injecting higher level skills and innovation and directly supporting our Strategic Economic Plan and emerging Local Industrial Strategy priorities related to health and care.
“The medical school will link closely with the Institute of Health and the National Centre for Rural Health and Care, a pioneering centre headquartered in Greater Lincolnshire, and drive an integrated approach to sector-related data, research, technology and workforce and learning.
“We are delighted to be investing almost £5 million towards the scheme and look forward to completion of this high-quality facility that will drive skills development across the fields of medicine and allied health subjects.”
Minister of State for Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “Supporting the transformational establishment of a School of Medicine in Lincoln is just one of the ways the Government continues to help local communities thrive. The Local Growth Fund’s £4.975 million investment in Greater Lincolnshire will ensure the region benefits from the skills and innovation injection it requires to meet the health and care challenges of the future.”
Steve Taylor, Charity Chief Executive of the Bromhead Medical Charity, which has made a substantial charitable donation to support the medical school development, said: “The Bromhead Medical Charity is delighted to be supporting the establishment of the Lincoln Medical School. We believe access to good quality healthcare is vital throughout the county and we hope that this initiative will spearhead making healthcare in Lincolnshire better.”