Publication - Consultation analysis

University of St. Andrews - degrees and licenses in medicine and dentistry: consultation analysis

Analysis of the responses to the consultation paper which sought views on removing a legislative prohibition which prevents the University of St. Andrews from awarding medical and dentistry degrees.

42 page PDF

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42 page PDF

838.8 kB

University of St. Andrews - degrees and licenses in medicine and dentistry: consultation analysis
Annex S: Letter from the University of St. Andrews

42 page PDF

838.8 kB

Annex S: Letter from the University of St. Andrews

16 July 2020

Carmen Murray
Workforce Development / Medical Education and Training I Health Workforce, Leadership and Service Reform Directorate
Scottish Government
GR St Andrew's House


Dear Carmen,

Re: University of Dundee submission to Scottish Government consultation regarding reinstatement of PMQ awarding powers for the University of St Andrews

I am writing in response to your request to set out the University of St Andrews' position in relation to some of the statements made by the University of Dundee in their respondent information form in connection with the above matter. A number of areas need to be addressed and I cover these in turn.

The University of Dundee asserted initially that the ScotGEM course was never meant to have a dual degree awarded by both Universities at graduation. In their revised submission they have moved their position to "The ScotGEM programme was originally conceived as a joint programme delivered by the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee, with the final degree awarded by the University of Dundee". This is simply not true. There was never a plan that a joint programme would award solely a University of Dundee degree. The University of St Andrews would not have engaged with this. Indeed, St Andrews drove very much of the early development of this idea which culminated in a submission to the Scottish Government in 2016 in which it was clearly stated that there would be a joint degree awarded by both universities. This submission was signed off by both the Principals and the Deans of Medicine from the two universities. The joint degree intention was also stated to the GMC in their accreditation process and this was also accompanied by a letter signed by both Principals. Copies of the relevant documents are enclosed with this letter.

The University of Dundee go on to say that prior to submission of the ScotGEM proposal they agreed to a "revision of the application such that the final degree would be awarded jointly by both institutions". No such revision exists, and there is no record of this course of events ever having happened. The ScotGEM programme was always a joint degree from its beginnings.

In their revised submission relating to the Universities (Scotland) Act 1966, the University of Dundee write that the revised ScotGEM submission was only agreed to on "the basis that it would support the University of St Andrews to seek reinstatement of these degree awarding powers solely for the purpose of ScotGEM". No such condition was raised at the time of submission and we have no records of such a request. When, in the autumn of 2017, the issue of restricting PMQ awarding powers to ScotGEM was raised by the University of Dundee, the University of St Andrews made it entirely clear, and has continued to do so, that we do not agree that we should in principle only be allowed to award PMQ bearing degrees for ScotGEM. We have, therefore, never agreed to this proposition at any stage of the application, setup, and indeed delivery of ScotGEM.

Therefore, on behalf of the University of St Andrews I would contest every aspect of what is written in paragraph 3 of the University of Dundee's submission, and support this with the evidence that the Principal of the University of Dundee signed off documents to the Scottish Government and the GMC clearly stating that this was a joint degree, and making no reference to the limitation of St Andrews degree awarding powers. If I am called to the committee stage of this bill this is what I shall say.

The submission from the University of Dundee makes a number of other points on which I wish to comment. The contribution to the development of ScotGEM they say "was largely borne out of the expertise of the University of Dundee". This is not accurate, and their assertion that "Agents of Change" was a Dundee invention for the course is not correct – it originated from a University of St Andrews academic. Both the bid and the setup of this degree course have heavily relied on staff from the University of St Andrews, in many cases at a greater level of commitment in terms of time than staff from the University of Dundee.

The University of Dundee assert that you need a "teaching hospital" to deliver an undergraduate degree course. This is simply not correct today for courses that aim to train a majority of their graduates as general practitioners and this is, in fact, the case for ScotGEM – something the University of Dundee should be well aware off.

Concern is expressed about a new medical degree course in Scotland and presumably this is directed at any ambition that the University of St Andrews might have. I can make it clear that the University of St Andrews would only ever create a new degree course in Medicine with the support of SFC, the Scottish Government and NES. Outside the University of Dundee submission, an assumption has on occasion been expressed that the University of St Andrews would start a private medical school. I take the opportunity of this letter to refute this – there are no plans to do this. The University of St Andrews is strategically committed to social inclusion and widening access.

The University of St Andrews believes that the unique and unfair disadvantage of the 1966 legislation should be repealed to allow it to have the same opportunities as any other university in Scotland and the UK. The attempts by the University of Dundee to have our status restricted only reinforce our view that repeal of the 1966 legislation in its entirety is now the appropriate step to take to allow one of Scotland's best universities to contribute to the improvement of health in Scotland through medical education.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sally Mapstone P
rincipal and Vice-Chancellor

Enc The original bid to Scottish Government ('ScotGEM – Final draft Mar30.pdf')

  • Page 2: letter from both Deans of Medicine mentioning intention for joint PMQ
  • Page 14: letter of support from Prof Garry Taylor and Prof Sir Pete Downes

Two parts of a document sent to the General Medical Council at stage 3 of the 8-stage accreditation process

  • '004 ScotGEM – Curriculum and Assessment.pdf' – page 2, mention of joint degree
  • '004e Curriculum and Assessment – Documents as submitted to University Curriculum Approval processes.pdf' – page 2, first of multiple mentions of Joint Award

cc Professor Lorna Milne, Master of the United College and Deputy Principal, University of St Andrews

Professor David Crossman, Dean of Faculty of Medicine and Head of School, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews