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Saturday, August 1, 1998 Published at 02:54 GMT 03:54 UK


Health

King's forms medical supercollege

Students from King's will get to train at two other big London hospitals

King's Colllege is merging with two of London's hospitals to form the biggest medical and dental school in Britain and possibly the largest in Europe.

King's is to merge with the dental and medical schools at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals to create a supercollege training 330 doctors and 150 dentists a year. The merger formally takes place on 1 August.

King's has also put in a bid for an extra 1,000 students a year in light of the government's recent pledge to increase the number of medical students by 20% over the next seven years to make up for shortages in some areas of the profession.

The merger will put the college in the top five education institutions in the country for research earnings.

More money

King's, one of the University of London's largest colleges, says bigger educational institutions are able to compete on the international stage for larger slices of funding which can help support other research subjects.

This is because they are able to bring researchers together to complement each other's work and create 'critical mass'.

The college will be selling off its land in West London and relocating to three campuses in the centre of the capital at a cost of £170m.

The campuses include two new 'state-of-the-art' buildings at Waterloo and London Bridge.

They will open in 1999 and will be funded by £40m from the government, a public finance initiative and the eventual sale of the West London land.

New King's College

The schools, to be known as Guy's, King's and St Thomas' Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, will be part of a new King's College which will have a £250m annual budget and employ 5,000 staff.

King's merged last year with the Institute of Psychiatry.


[ image: The merger will bring more funding for experiments]
The merger will bring more funding for experiments
The college says the move will bring new curricula, allowing students to come into contact with patients from their first year of study. Before they did not meet patients until their third year.

It will also mean students can use their third year to do an 'inter-collated degree' in a related subject such as medical law and ethics and then return to their medical training.

"The aim is to create more rounded, educated doctors. It is an opportunity for extra study," said a spokeswoman for King's.

Previously students from Guy's and St Thomas' only mixed with other medical students.

In the new medical school, they will have contact with students from other subject areas, such as the humanities.

"It will open them up to new ideas," said the spokeswoman.

Cross-disciplinary

The college is planning cross-disciplinary work on areas such as the philosopy of mental disorder, diabetes, anaemia and allergy and asthma.

It is to work with the University of the West Indies on Afro-Caribbean medicine, including areas such as sickle cell anaemia.

And it will set up a new Centre for Age-Related Diseases, bringing together work on the role of free radicals - the highly reactive and damaging by-products produced in all cells - in the ageing process and in diseases such as Parkinson's and dementia.



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