[T]he University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has unveiled the first two professors who will spearhead medical education in West Cumbria.
Professor of Primary Care Dr John Howarth and gastroenterology consultant Professor Janusz Jankowski have been appointed to lead the University’s teaching and research capacity in the region alongside working within NHS Trusts.
With more than 30 years’ experience in the medical profession, Dr Howarth is a well-known face in the area. He was a GP in Cockermouth for 20 years before he became Director and Deputy CEO of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust. His new role will see him focus on the development of the infrastructure and networks for Primary Care and Community Health Care Research for UCLan while building the networks for Primary care and Community based teaching in the region.
He said: “My first ever job as a doctor was in Whitehaven so it is a real privilege to return 33 years later as Professor of Primary Care with UCLan. The new medical school campus development is incredibly exciting and I am particularly pleased that there is a role recognising the importance of general practice and community services.”
Professor Jankowski is an expert in reflux esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, acute medicine and clinical trials as well as more generally in cancer prevention and health promotion. As a clinician Professor Jankowski has helped create centres of excellence in medicine and gastroenterology. At UCLan his role will involve the preparation of student placements, establishing the academic infrastructure and continuing his sector-leading research. In addition he will work as a consultant at West Cumberland Hospital.
The doctors, who are part of the UCLan School of Medicine, will be based at the West Cumberland Medical Education Centre (WCMEC) at the University’s Westlakes Campus.
The WCMEC is a collaboration between the University, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It will offer opportunities to deliver innovative improvements in remote and rural healthcare and develop new integrated models of care for the local area. It will also provide a local facility to train West Cumbria’s clinical workforce and attract the best global students to the area to benefit patient care.
UCLan’s Professor Cathy Jackson worked in the West Cumbria region during the early days of her career and is now the Head of the School of Medicine. She said: “The appointment of these two professors is the first step on what looks to be the beginning of an exciting journey for the region. UCLan’s School of Medicine has very ambitious plans for the development of medical education and research in the West Cumbria area and is working with the Trusts, the CCG and the local community to bring these together with all the resulting benefits these will bring over the course of the next few years to staff recruitment and retention in the area.”
The doctors started their roles earlier this month and more posts are planned for the future.
Derek Thomson, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The appointment of John Howarth and Janusz Jankowski into the professor roles marks a key milestone in our partnership working towards developing medical education in West Cumbria. I am sure their expertise and experience will prove invaluable as we progress with our plans for the future and the Trust very much looks forward to working with them both.”
Mike Starkie, Elected Mayor of Copeland, added: “The collaboration between the UCLan School of Medicine and our NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Group will reap dividends for the healthcare of the local population and the growth of the activity in regional medical education and research are welcomed and supported.
“The School of Medicine has ambitious plans for developing a centre of excellence for remote and rural teaching and research in Whitehaven and these first professorial appointments are an indication of what can be achieved by UCLan and the NHS collaborating in this way. I look forward to supporting the West Cumberland Medical Education Centre, to see it grow and flourish and to welcoming the first students here in Copeland.”