The University of St Andrews holds its first MBChB graduation in 50 years

Ian Gordon
Friday 17 June 2022

A group of graduating students

The University of St Andrews will on Friday June 17, graduate the first cohort of ScotGEM students and hold its first MBChB graduation in 50 years. ScotGEM is a rural-focused graduate medical programme facilitated by NHS Fife, Tayside, Highland and Dumfries & Galloway, and run jointly by the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee. Students in the programme spend their first year based at the University of St Andrews with clinical placements at NHS Fife, and travel to Dumfries, Inverness, and St Andrews in their second year. Their third year involves mostly rural practice across Scotland, while their fourth and final year is spent working in large hospitals. After graduation, students become foundation doctors in the NHS. The programme aims to give students enough positive experiences of remote, rural and generalist medicine such that they seek out medical careers in these areas of Scotland that are struggling to recruit doctors.

Describing the event as significant and historic, Dr Andrew O’Malley, Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine, who serves as deputy programme director for ScotGEM said: “We are very excited to be graduating our first cohort of students and are lucky to collaborate with the University of Dundee and four different health boards – Fife, Dumfries and Galloway, Highland, Tayside in offering this unique programme. The programme is currently the only graduate-entry medical degree in Scotland and all our students come from diverse backgrounds and are very motivated”.

Lesley Alexander, one of the graduates, shared her excitement at being part of this graduating set: “I’m thrilled and feel lucky to be part of this cohort. I had applied to study Medicine prior to eventually getting into ScotGEM, but I’m glad it didn’t work out because this proved to be the right programme for me”. She added that the programme’s rural and generalist offerings were some of the aspects she enjoyed. “It’s been a fantastic course to be a part of and if any graduate was considering applying to Medicine, I think ScotGEM is a great programme, especially if you are more interested in a generalist in career.”

Speaking on her future plans, Ms Alexander shared that she will begin her practice in a rural setting: “I’ll be based down in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary for my FY1 and FY2 years. And then after that, I do potentially see myself staying in that area” she shared. “I love the sense of community in the hospital, it’s a tight team and they do look after their staff and I have already decided I do want to become GP”.

“ The graduation of the ScotGEM students is one of the most exciting days in the history of medicine at the University of St Andrews. Delivery of this has been a huge effort over the last 5 to 6 years, involving many people in the Universities of St Andrews, Dundee and the Highlands and Islands. In addition, the distributed nature of the programme has involved 4 health Boards in Scotland who have supported the programme throughout its development. ScotGEM is now delivering doctors trained in a different way into the NHS in Scotland and is a cause for celebration by all involved.”

– David Crossman, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

The graduation will be held at the newly renovated Younger Hall in St Andrews and a livestream link will be made available for attendees who are unable to make it in person. All at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine congratulate the graduates on this historic event.

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