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First medical students graduate in Essex

Published: 18 July 2023 at 10:30

School of Medicine students celebrate their graduation

County’s first ‘homegrown’ doctors began the course at ARU in 2018

The county of Essex’s first medical students have crossed the stage to officially become doctors. 
Anglia Ruskin University’s School of Medicine held a graduation ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral for its first cohort of 81 students, who began their studies in 2018, watched by friends and loved ones as well as partners and supporters from healthcare organisations from around the county. 
The students have now qualified as junior doctors and will go on to complete further postgraduate training in their chosen fields. Many will practice in Essex and the surrounding region. 
The School of Medicine opened in 2018 following a Government expansion of medical school places across the UK and was officially opened by the Duke of Kent the following year. It is one of a handful of new medical schools across the country built to accommodate the expansion, and ARU students are the first to graduate from one of these new schools.  
The School of Medicine was built in collaboration with five NHS hospitals and in excess of 60 GP surgeries, to provide students with a mix of placement experiences in urban and rural areas, with training underpinned by a strong commitment to clinically focused research. 
Essex is suffering medical workforce shortages across primary care, mental health and acute care, and some areas of Essex have among the highest patient to GP ratios in the country
Demi Bola-Ojo is one of several students graduating from their local medical school, being based in Braintree. She said:

“I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to study at ARU, and I’ve really enjoyed the five years here. I’m planning on staying in Chelmsford, I’m from around here and I have really enjoyed working in the local hospitals here.” 

Dr Sanjiv Ahluwalia, Head of the School of Medicine at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“It was an incredibly proud day, seeing the first ever ARU Medicine students complete their undergraduate journey. Achieving a degree in Medicine is an incredibly difficult challenge and it is a testament to the quality of our students and our teaching staff. They are a credit to ARU and their families. 
“I wish our graduating students all the very best as they go on to practice, and we know that many are staying right here in Essex and the wider region to do so, which was one of the main aims of the School of Medicine when it first set out its vision. 
“We are thankful for the immense support the School of Medicine has received since it was first conceived as an idea, and today is a day of celebration for our partners, supporters, staff and students.” 

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“The arrival of medical students on our Chelmsford campus five years ago was genuinely transformative, and both individually and as a group they have made an enormous contribution to the life of our university and the character of this campus.  
“I wish them every success in their future careers and hope they will stay closely in touch with us.” 

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The first group of Social Worker degree apprentices also celebrated their graduation in Chelmsford in July 2023. They've combined studying at ARU with working for Essex local authorities.