Annex F: University Of Aberdeen
We recognise the anomalous nature of paragraph 17 Schedule 6 to the Universities (Scotland) Act 1966 ("the 1966 Act") that prohibits the University of St Andrews from awarding undergraduate degrees in medicine, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in midwifery and surgery, and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and licences in dentistry.
Our decision is that we do support the legislative change subject to the separation of this from a decision about a new medical school. This is based on the understanding the only medical degree St Andrew wishes to award is the ScotGEM PMQ, jointly with Dundee University.
We are less confident about supporting a linked proposal for a new medical school at St Andrews. This is especially relevant given the major changes in NHS clinical pathways and clinical training opportunities in the post COVID19 recovery period and thereafter. As there are likely to be fewer face to face training sessions available for students, the quality of the learning experience for all Scottish medical students and clinical placement opportunities for other health care professions will be affected. Additional students seeking clinical placements could cause major problems existing students. We are also concerned about the added complexity faced by NHS clinicians working with multiple curricula and assessments from different Universities at a time of enormous pressure and uncertainty in the health service.
Further expansion of medical student places to meet workforce needs can be accomplished most rapidly and with the least disruption by expanding places in the existing programmes. The impact of extra students on an established curriculum is easier to manage because each set of placements for a particular MBChB programme has some redundancy built into it which could if necessary accommodate a few extra students. Additionally, clinicians in Scottish hospitals and GP practices are generally used to supporting MBChB curricula from one or at the most two universities. A new medical School will require NHS colleagues to support an additional curriculum each with its own paperwork/time tables which could put additional pressure on an already overstretched service.