The University of Buckingham Medical School is the culmination of a decade long project initially started by our recently retired Vice-Chancellor, Professor Terence Kealey.
He had a vision that was shared by Professor Karol Sikora, a distinguished medical academic who has fought continually for patients' rights to better treatment, and Professor Mike Cawthorne, who had set up the Clore Lab which does groundbreaking research on Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Buckingham.
Together they discussed and evaluated various schemes including several joint ventures both in the UK and internationally for over seven years. All of these possible partnership arrangements eventually floundered and Terence, Karol and Mike concluded that if Buckingham was to have a Medical School, it must do so with its own resources.
They set out to find clinical partners and recognised that Milton Keynes Hospital, which is less than 15 miles away, was part of the fastest growing city in Europe but took very few medical students from other universities. Staff there were enthusiastic supporters of the idea of becoming a university hospital. They were joined by St Andrew's Healthcare, Bedford hospital, and local General Practices in and around the Buckingham area.
Professor John Clapham had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry at Beecham, SmithKline Beecham (where he worked with Mike Cawthorne) and AstraZeneca; first in Sweden and more latterly as Director of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal research at Alderley Park , Macclesfield. He joined the Medical School project as its Chief Operating Officer.
Professor Stewart Petersen was about to retire from his position of Director of Medical Education at Leicester University and agreed to help the University prepare its plans for submission to the General Medical Council, which in turn established a review team (as they do with all new medical schools) that will meet and advise with Medical School staff throughout the first five years until the first cohort of students graduate. Leicester University agreed to licence their curriculum to Buckingham and provide valuable support in delivering the curriculum in the first few years.
The Chandos Road Building at the University of Buckingham was identified as the initial home of the University of Buckingham Medical School. The building has a long architectural heritage, being at various times a factory making steam driven cars and a milk factory. The building was acquired by the University following a bequest from the Warren Foundation. The University established seminar rooms and lecture theatres in the building, but around 40% of the building has been used for storage.
It is this area that has been converted to include a new lecture theatre, seminar rooms, anatomy, clinical skills area, academic offices and study areas for students.
This journey is now leading to the arrival of our first cohort of 70 students on 5 January 2015.