Hospitals may be struggling to overcome immigration laws to recruit new nurses, but for the university sector it is a different story.
In what is thought to be a first, a UK university has launched a medical degree that is open only to overseas students. The University of Central Lancashire said that it was unable to invite British students to apply because of national limits on the numbers allowed to study medicine.
However, 38 international students from outside the EU will take up a place, paying £36,500 a year.
The university said it would like to recruit UK students and would be applying to do so if placements became available. The overseas students will self-fund their course at the university in Preston. During their training they will work closely with local NHS hospitals.
Many international students apply to study medicine in the UK each year, drawn by the global reputation of the NHS and British research, and by the opportunity to register with the General Medical Council at the end of the course and potentially work in the NHS. However, fees are high. Applicants for the Lancashire course will pay £182,500 over five years.
Professor Cathy Jackson, head of the university medical school, told the BBC: “We are very much not an elitist organisation and we are working with our partner [NHS] trusts to improve the health economy in many ways in all the regions in which we are working.
“These international students self-fund their course in the same way as international students do at every other medical school in the UK. Unlike the other schools however, we don’t yet have any home students.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies