Work has begun on developing a medical college within Greater Manchester ICS’s footprint that received £20m from the Levelling-Up Fund, offering a direct route into healthcare employment.
The project’s delivery partners have also fronted a further £20m in delivery costs, bringing the total cost to £40m.
The Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS), which will open from 2024 on the Royal Bolton Hospital site, is expected to take on as many as 3,000 trainees a year and will focus on practical learning in a hospital environment.
The majority of learners will be directed to clinical and medical roles within hospital settings, and a major focus will be on nursing which is a critical employment gap in the area.
There will also be provision for physical associates, advanced practitioners, assistant practitioners, healthcare assistants and counsellor training.
Bolton Council’s planning committee to granted planning permission for the development in June.
The project marks a collaboration between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton Council and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, and feeds into the ICB’s workforce development strategy.
The college is expected to contribute £150m to the local economy over its lifetime.
Annette Walker, director of finance at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Bolton College of Medical Sciences will help us develop our existing staff and provide new routes for those who want a future in healthcare to expand their skills. It really is an exciting project both for us as an organisation, and the whole town.’
Professor George E Holmes DL, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said: ‘Not only will it increase employment prospects in the local area and make healthcare professions more accessible, but it will also help alleviate NHS staffing pressures in Greater Manchester and provide improved levels of care in our community. It’s brilliant to see the build underway.’
It comes after as NHS England launched a renewed nurse recruitment drive, as recent data revealed that vacancies in the profession had reached a record high of almost 47,000.