FORMER NHS patients from across Cumbria are being sought to help train the next generation of medics.

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) School of Medicine, which now has a base in the county, needs to recruit patient volunteers to work with student doctors and other staff.

Volunteer patients will help those training at the West Cumberland Medical Education Centre, at Westlakes in Whitehaven, and on placement in local hospitals and health centres.

UCLan is looking for patients who are happy to allow students to record their medical histories or, in some cases, carry out medical examinations. Volunteers can attend sessions at the West Cumberland Medical Education Centre just once or twice a year, or be more active if they wish.

Ideally, the Medical School is looking for patients who might have long-term health conditions.

These include:

  • Chest diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Heart problems, such as angina, a previous heart attack or heart surgery, or valve disease
  • Kidney or bladder issues, or conditions related to the gastrointestinal system
  • Neurological problems such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, previous stroke, or previous surgery to the spine or brain
  • Diabetes

Professor Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean and Head of the UCLan School of Medicine, said: “By giving us just a few hours a month, members of the public can make a major difference.

"Our students learn the theory and knowledge that underpins their professional role in the classroom, but putting their knowledge into practice is an entirely different proposition.

“More than 80 per cent of the diagnosis procedure is based on listening to the patient so our student doctors really must have excellent communication, patient care and decision making skills.

"This is something they can only learn by working with real patients. We’d like our volunteers to provide feedback directly to students on their performance and behaviours."

She added that those who train here are more likely to stay in Cumbria, helping to secure local health services.

“We’ve listed a number of areas where we’re looking for patient volunteers with specific conditions but we’re open to enquiries from patients with any disorder who would be interested in helping to train our doctors of the future, many of whom will work in Cumbria," she said.

The University will pay travel expenses for patients and the university is happy to receive applications from those located across Cumbria.

To find out more, patients are invited to the next Volunteer Patient Information and Registration Event, on July 2.

This takes place between 2pm and 5pm at the West Cumberland Medical Education Centre, in UCLan's Samuel Lindow Building at the Westlakes Science and Technology Park.

Alternatively email or call 01772 895939.