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What are the impacts of setting up new medical schools? A narrative review

Hashem, Ferhana, Marchand, Catherine, Peckham, Stephen, Peckham, Anna (2022) What are the impacts of setting up new medical schools? A narrative review. BMC Medical Education, 22 (1). Article Number 759. ISSN 1472-6920. (doi:10.1186/s12909-022-03835-4) (KAR id:97594)


Background: The growth of the UK’s population together with an aging society with increasingly complex health and social care needs has placed a greater demand on statutory care services. In view of this emerging landscape, the UK Government has sought to increase its medically trained workforce in order to better respond to the demands placed on the health service. Five universities were announced as homes to new medical schools offering undergraduate places to boost the numbers of doctors training in England. The aim of this narrative review was to explore how new medical schools could improve the health outcomes of the local population and evaluate the potential contribution it may make to the local economy, workforce and to research and innovation.

Methods: A narrative review was undertaken using a systematic approach for the search literature strategy. The articles were evaluated by undertaking a critical assessment evaluating the fitness of a paper for review according to results, methods used to test the hypothesis, conclusions and impact and limitations. Thematic analysis was employed to organise and summarise the findings across a heterogeneous body of literature included in the review. The analysis was developed in an inductive manner and there were not any predefined themes to guide data extraction and analysis.

Results: Thirty-six articles were selected for inclusion for this narrative review. The review identified six key themes: influence of prior rural exposure, medical school environment and rural enrichment programmes, workforce, health outcomes of local populations, social accountability, economic contribution of medical schools to communities and impact on rural research.

Conclusions: The studies included found a wealth of information on a wide-range of topics on the expansion of undergraduate education and its implications on the future medical workforce. It was shown that medical schools can have a positive effect on the health, social, economic and research activity of a region, but this literature tended to be heterogeneous in focus without consideration of the inter-connections between the wider societal and economic impacts arising from long-term sustainable change being brought to a region.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1186/s12909-022-03835-4
Projects: Evaluability Assessment of Kent and Medway Medical School
Uncontrolled keywords: new medical schools; impact; health outcomes; social accountability; workforce; local economy; research activity
Subjects: L Education
R Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Ferhana Hashem
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2022 18:49 UTC
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 14:33 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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