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Scientists at Agalimmune based at Discovery Park.

Scientists at Agalimmune based at Discovery Park.

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Possibility of new medical school for Kent & Medway after industrial strategy is unveiled

Scientists at Agalimmune based at Discovery Park.

Scientists at Agalimmune based at Discovery Park.

According to Greg Clark a much-needed medical school for Kent and Medway is looking likely.

The business secretary and MP for Tunbridge Wells, was responding to a question from fellow county MP Helen Whately, who called on the government to back proposals drawn up by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

It comes as Mr Clark this week launched a new industrial strategy to help boost the economy, in which business chiefs at the South East Local Enterprise Partnership urged the government to continue investing in Kent and Medway as it has been “a proven winner”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mrs Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, said: “I welcome the industrial strategy paper, especially its focus on science and skills, its building on local strengths and its addressing of institutional gaps.

“Kent has strength in life sciences, but a conspicuous institutional gap in its lack of a medical school — an institution from which life science innovations frequently emerge.

“I mention to [Mr Clark] that I am hopeful that this industrial strategy might be a vehicle for Kent to seek support for a medical school, and I would be grateful to him for any encouragement he might offer.”

Mr Clark said in response: “I am grateful to [Mrs Whately] for her words.

“She will know that in life sciences, one proposal is to review what the sector needs to be able to support the small and medium-sized businesses in it, so that proposal might be something to be taken up.”

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Whately added: “Kent could benefit enormously from a medical school.

“We need more doctors locally, and government plans to increase medical school places mean now is a golden opportunity.

“I asked for the support of the business secretary during the launch of the government’s new industrial strategy, because developing UK strength in life sciences is at the heart of that strategy.

“Kent is already strong in life sciences. We have faculties for biosciences and pharmacy at the University of Kent, nurse and allied healthcare professional training at Christ Church, bioscience businesses in Discovery Park and the Kent Science Park and new healthcare facilities at the Kent Medical Campus near Maidstone.

“With so much healthcare and bioscience activity locally, there’s a really strong case for a medical school.

“A new medical school is part of the emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Kent and Medway, and there’s work already going on being led by Christ Church University and the University of Kent.

“I’m supporting the development of these proposals – no doubt other parts of the country will be making their own bids, and I want to make sure ours is in pole position.”

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