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Rizwana Din

The second cohort of international students – already qualified doctors in their own countries – are set to start the Clinical MD (Doctor of Medicine) degree programme in October.

The new three-year programme has been developed by the University of Chester in collaboration with the Countess of Chester Hospital, and in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians.

The course – introduced in 2018 and the only one of its kind in the country – was set-up in response to a need by doctors from overseas, who are seeking to further develop their research skills and enhance their clinical practice.

Professor Elizabeth Mason-Whitehead, the Programme Leader, said: “All the students have been through a rigorous selection process. Working under supervision by mentors, they will combine rotational, hands-on, intensive training in all the major clinical specialities in medicine at the Countess of Chester Hospital, including Cardiology, Acute Medicine, Stroke Medicine and Neurology.”

Academic modules to enhance their skills in research, writing for publication and professional development, will be taught at the Chester Medical School, Bache Hall; as well as at the Riverside and Parkgate Road Campuses in Chester.

Professor Mason-Whitehead added: “On completion of the course, we anticipate the students will return to their home countries and play a leading role in the delivery and planning of healthcare – utilising the skills and experience they have developed here in Chester.”

Most students will also be working towards their MRCP exams, which will go towards their General Medical Council (GMC) registration. Once they are GMC-registered, they will have the opportunity to work as a junior doctor in the NHS for 20-hours a week.

Gowthamini Asokan, a first year clinical MD student, says all the doctors and professors she has worked with on the course are keen to promote their skills and knowledge. She said: “First week into my rotations and I am amazed by the best approach towards patient care.


Gowthamini Asokan
Gowthamini Asokan

“All the staff, doctors and professors are keen to promote their skills and knowledge. They work tirelessly towards patient safety and always welcome any questions or concerns that I put forward.”

Another first year student, Rizwana Din, said: “I am currently going through my core medical training at the Countess of Chester Hospital. I’m enjoying every minute of my course. The entire medical staff, consultants and junior doctors have been very welcoming since day one. I can’t express my gratitude enough to my assigned supervisor. Being a doctor and a medical student brings many challenges every day. However, these challenges do not compare to the ones many patients encounter daily and I am forever putting my own life into perspective to realise how truly lucky myself and many others are to have good health.

“The strength and resilience they have to face each day is remarkable and gives me the motivation to deliver the best care I can, because my patients deserve nothing less. I’m looking forward to what I can learn and gain each and every single day from this course and am taking this as an opportunity to share my experiences, skills, and interest.”

Another first year student, Dr Vemuri Sree Sai Siddhardha, says he is honoured to study at the University and have the opportunity to work at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Sree Sai Siddhardha Vemuri.jpg

Sree Sai Siddhardha Vemuri
Sree Sai Siddhardha Vemuri

He said: “I was a little anxious about the course, wondering whether I would cope or whether I would succeed, how I would perform. But when I was introduced to the staff, I lost much of my nervousness – the warm welcome I got made me more confident.

“My supervisor, nurses on the ward, other doctors and all the other staff were keen and interested to teach me and train me in every possible way. Their focus was to provide me with the core medical training, which is essential for my MRCP examination.

“Overall, the core medical training is not as easy as it appears, but it is interesting working towards a diagnosis for those who are prepared to work hard. I am totally satisfied with my course and placement and the systematic approach to work and study.”

Professor Mason-Whitehead added: “The Clinical MD course is ideal for ambitious international doctors who will benefit from intensive clinical training, MRCP, options for working in the NHS and research training. We expect graduates from the course to become prominent clinical academics in their country of origin.”

She said: “We believe this is a significant programme of study and research in the development of the Chester Medical School. It is a real privilege to be able to be involved in this programme, working collaboratively with our colleagues in the Countess of Chester and also teaching such dedicated students, who have been very warmly received by the University and the Countess.”



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