An academic from Edge Hill University’s Medical School has been appointed to represent a network of UK universities that champion widening access opportunities for aspiring doctors. 

Dr Peter Leadbetter has been selected as the new head of the Foundation and Gateway Lead Network in recognition of his commitment to supporting equal opportunities for students. 

Supported by the Medical Schools Council, the Foundation and Gateway Lead Network comprises medical schools across England and Scotland that deliver foundation and gateway courses to encourage collaboration, knowledge exchange and to promote best practice. 

The Medical Schools Council defines foundation and gateway programmes as medical courses designed for students who are of high ability but have had barriers to their learning due to their circumstances. The courses can take this into account in different ways, for instance by using ‘adjusted criteria’ to chance the entry requirements for some applicants. 

Dr Leadbetter, a Senior Lecturer and Teaching Fellow, and leader of Edge Hill’s Foundation Year to Medicine programme, said: “In recent years we have seen a rise in the number of universities launching foundation and gateway year programmes as part of a national drive to encourage inclusion and greater representation across the UK’s medical school landscape. 

“It’s vital that universities work together to play our part in providing opportunities to aspiring doctors, regardless of their background, and this underpins the aim of the Foundation and Gateway Lead Network, to harness our combined strengths and knowledge to provide every medicine student with an equal chance to succeed.” 

Edge Hill’s Medical School officially launched in 2020 as one of three new freestanding medical schools in the country, with a mission to develop a new generation of doctors who understand the needs of their local communities and can drive forward new models of care. 

Its Medicine with Foundation Year programme is designed to prepare talented students from the North West to enter its five-year Medicine degree

Dr Leadbetter added: “We are passionate about recruiting students who are representative of the population they will serve. As the NHS experiences one of the most challenging periods in its history, it’s now more important than ever that we are raising the aspirations of doctors who represent and understand the needs of modern society.” 

The Foundation and Gateway Lead Network annual conference will take place online on Wednesday 4th August 2021. The half-day event will explore some of the most pressing issues facing medical education and is open to anyone with an interest in widening access and participation in medicine. 

Individuals with an interest in widening participation for medicine who want to find out more about the Foundation and Gateway Lead Network are welcome to contact Dr Leadbetter at [email protected].  

Edge Hill’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the largest providers of health and social care education in the North West of England. We offer a wide range of undergraduate courses, from nursing and operating department practice to nutrition,  child health and counselling. Whatever your subject of interest, we aim to support you through all stages of your career from undergraduate study and gaining workplace experience, through to continuing professional development and postgraduate study