Medical schools scrap 200 jobs to cut costs

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The Independent Online

Up to 200 jobs are to be lost at two of Britain's leading medical schools. Academics condemned the redundancies at Imperial and Queen Mary and Westfield colleges in London yesterday, saying that teaching standards will be hit.

Managers blamed the planned job losses - up to 120 at Imperial College and 80 at Queen Mary and Westfield College - on restructuring after medical school mergers three years ago.

Union leaders said Imperial College Medical School was planning to shed about 120 jobs from nine of the school's divisions. David Triesman, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, blamed the redundancies on poor management and the desire of senior academics to create opportunities to bring in staff with a higher research-profile to attract more funding.Mr Triesman said the redundancies were part of a wider pattern of job losses in higher education, with redundancies threatened at several universities around Britain.

Dr Mark Scrimshaw, an AUT official at Imperial College, said: "There will be very serious implications on the ability of the school of medicine to teach the curriculum of the medical school if these people are taken away."

The Imperial College school was formed in 1997 from the merger of medical schools at St Mary's, Hammersmith, King's Cross and Westminster and the Royal Brompton hospitals and has divisions scattered across London.

The QMW medical school, formed from the merger of St Bartholomew's and the Royal Free hospital medical schools in 1995, faces a £4.4m deficit.

A spokeswoman for the college said 50 academic posts could be scrapped, although union officials said the total could be as many as 80. The QMW spokeswoman said every effort would be made to ensure the clinical service to local hospitals would not be affected.