University of Bolton is on track to open a medical school to train the next generation of doctors, under plans announced this week.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bolton Professor George E Holmes told The Bolton News that the establishment was working towards offer full undergraduate degrees in medicine.

The announcement came as the university is already helping to train young doctors to become surgeons at the University of Bolton's Institute of Medicine in Farnworth.

Currently the unversity's Institute of Medicine offers short courses designed for doctors’ career advancement. 

Prof Holmes said: "Our Queens Institute of Medicine is well advanced in its development to secure the gold standard of GMC approval that will enable us to offer full undergraduate degrees in medicine at the University of Bolton.

The Bolton News: George E HolmesGeorge E Holmes

“In addition to student satisfaction across the university, this is our number one strategic priority.

Recently 14 young doctors took part in a two-day basic surgical skills course at the University of Bolton’s Institute of Medicine.

This covered a range of topics for doctors at the start of their training as surgeons to give them the key skills they will need, and Bolton medics were thrilled when all 14 passed.

Bolton NHS Foundation trust consultant orthopaedic surgeon Steve Hodgson said: “It was a resounding success, with a fantastic 100 per cent pass rate, and has set the tone for the future of medical education at the Institute of Medicine.

The Bolton News: The young doctors passed their course with 'flying colours'The young doctors passed their course with 'flying colours' (Image: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust)

“The Institute of Medicine plans to expand its course offerings and provide more opportunities for students to develop their medical skills and knowledge.

“With the support of highly experienced faculty’s and a commitment to providing high-quality education, the Institute is poised to become a leading institution for medical education in Greater Manchester.”

Along with Mr Hodgson, the course was also taught by Joseph Varghese, John Ferns, James Pollard, Reza Zadeh and Madu Onwudike, also of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and was overseen by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The Bolton News: A range of courses were taught on the courseA range of courses were taught on the course (Image: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust)

The topics they covered included instrument handling, knot tying, suturing techniques, fine tissue handling, wound management and diathermy.

The students have so far spoken highly of their experiences on the course.

One said: “What a credit the faculty team were; I cannot stress how incredibly helpful and encouraging they were.

“They played a massive part in the overall success of the course.”

Another student said that highlight for her was how inclusive the course proved to be.

She said: “I felt very accepted and valued as a woman in a field traditionally dominated by men.”

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The scheme has also won approval at the highest level of Bolton’s NHS trust.

Medical director Francis Andrews said: “It is fantastic to see so many young doctors learning their craft and embedding the best surgical techniques early on.

“Well done to all those who took part and thank you to our wonderful team for providing a high-quality, hands-on and successful course.”

Academics at the University of Bolton hope that this could mark the beginning of a new phase in its medical training programme.

Vice Chancellor Professor George E Holmes said: “I am very proud of the milestone achieved here.

“The 100 per cent pass rate success in the inaugural course in surgical skills is the culmination of effort from both the clinical educators and the newly-qualified doctors.

"It positions the university as a home for the high quality training and education of healthcare professionals.

“Congratulations to the 14 newly-qualified doctors for their achievement and thank you to all the staff and leadership in helping with this milestone.”

The University of Bolton was initially founded in 1824 as the Bolton Mechanics institute, before being given degree awarding powers in 1990, and the title University of Bolton in 2005.