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Press Invite: Dick Whittington summer school show Friday 8 July

1 February 2006

A unique summer school is enabling 16 year old students from less affluent backgrounds to follow doctors around hospitals and GP practices this week, to find out more about careers in medicine before they apply to medical school. The Dick Whittington programme culminates in a morning of medical presentations by the students on patients they have met, which will take place on Friday 8 July 2005 in Archway, North London.

This year, the Dick Whittington Summer School is hosting 40 students from less affluent socio-economic backgrounds who are spending a week at University College London's Archway campus along with the Whittington Hospital in North London.

Between 4 and 8 July 2005, the students will work in small groups, visiting hospital departments and nearby GP practices.  They will meet doctors, talk to patients, watch operations and learn about the diseases they encounter. 

On the last day of the summer school, the pupils will present cases in a format similar to the real Grand Round which doctors hold every week at the Whittington Hospital to discuss newly admitted cases.  Each group of pupils will give a Powerpoint presentation about an interesting patient they have met, showing real X-rays and pathology specimens, discussing the pharmacology of the patient's medication and talking about the impact of the disease on their patient's life.

Journalists are invited to attend the Grand Round, which will take place on Friday 8 July 2005 from 10.45am to 12.30am at the Holborn Union building on UCL's Archway campus in North London.

Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Health Care at UCL, says: "We hope this year's Dick Whittington Summer School will be the first of a series of annual events to encourage able young people from less affluent backgrounds to consider medicine as a career.

"Feedback from the pupils has been very positive and they particularly liked the hands-on activities such as running cardiac ultrasound scans and watching operations. We know that every one of the pupils intends to apply to medical school and we hope that at least half of them will get places.

"I started this summer school because I was from a less affluent background myself. I know how difficult it is to get the right information and gain the kind of experience that looks good on a medical school application form."

Notes for Editors

  1. For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Jenny Gimpel at the UCL Media Relations Office on +44 (0)20 7679 9739, Out of Hours: +44 (0)7917 271364 or e-mail j.gimpel@ucl.ac.uk.
  2. The Dick Whittington Summer School is funded by Islington Pathfinder, Sutton Trust and University College London. It is a partnership between the Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences at UCL, the Whittington Hospital Trust, and local 'partnership' comprehensive schools in target areas for widening participation.