New Medical Institute to help develop the expertise of doctors from the East of England

Published: 22 February 2008 at 16:50

New education, training and research facility will focus on bioengineering, cancer control, mental health and optometry.

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A new Postgraduate Medical Institute for local medical staff, based at Anglia Ruskin University’s Rivermead campus in Chelmsford, is being showcased and officially launched today (14 March) by Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education and Harlow MP, Mr Bill Rammell.

The Institute, led by medical academics in partnership with eleven NHS trusts from around the East of England, will provide a regional nucleus for postgraduate education and training, and research and technology development.  It will build on existing research activity at the University, create a focus for investment from the NHS and the private sector, provide opportunities for training and R&D partnerships with industry and allow hospital trusts to develop their senior staff locally.

Speaking about the potential of the Institute, the Project Leader for the Postgraduate Medical Institute and Consultant Anesthetist, Dr Aimen Hassani said:

“I believe that this Institute for local doctors and other healthcare professionals will bring a significant leap into the future of Medical and Health Sciences advances in Essex.  In addition, it will stimulate collaborative work between our partner NHS trusts, Anglia Ruskin University, private healthcare and the industry.”

“We intend to promote a new multi-disciplinary and multi-centre approach to education, research and development, that will bring better outcomes to health improvement programmes for our nation.”

“Clearly in Essex we compete for staff with London based trusts where the R&D infrastructure is so much better developed. The Institute will help us to attract high calibre UK consultants to the region.”

The recent changes in medical training and education make it important that multiple routes exist for doctors to specialise and achieve promotion.

The new Institute will support postgraduate training in medicine by organising relevant courses, symposiums and conferences for a wide range of professional activities.  The Institute will be housed in existing facilities initially but will ultimately have its own dedicated building.

In a competitive academic environment, the Institute intends to develop a targeted approach to its research programmes. These include research into Bioengineering, cancer control, mental health and Optometry.  

Bioengineering focuses on research into biomechanics and prosthetic implants and includes stress analysis research leading to improved aspects of implant surgery and hospital care, and the development of a system for early identification of wear and joint replacement loosening in prosthetic implants. 

Cancer control research brings together research on cellular aspects of cancer cells focused on the analysis of tumour development mechanisms. The University is currently investigating the potential triggers that enable breast cancers to develop and metastasize and trying to identify the potential biomarkers of breast cancer, breast cancer matastasis and breast cancer response to chemotherapy.

Mental health research is relatively recently established at Anglia Ruskin University. A shared professorial appointment with South Essex Partnership

NHS Foundation Trust has enabled a range of research projects to be progressed and a number of members of staff at the Trust to work towards gaining a PhD.

The University is widely acknowledged for its Optometry research.  Its myopia research group is part of a large research consortium funded by the Government of Australia with international research partners in the USA, UK and Australia. The group has identified important factors that influence myopic progression. These findings led to the design of a new contact lens which has been patented in a number of countries.

Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council commented:

“The county of Essex is proud of its medical excellence and I am delighted that this will now be even further underpinned by such an important development which will enable us to better capitalise on the expertise in our Trusts and attract additional funding for our work from both public and private sources.”

Partners involved in the establishment of the Postgraduate Medical Institute include Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, North East Essex Primary Care Trust, Essex Nuffield Hospital, Brentwood, North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, Ramsay Health Care UK, Bedford, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

For further information about the Postgraduate Medical Institute, contact 0845 271 3333, visit www.anglia.ac.uk or email aimen.hassani@anglia.ac.uk