V-C on the contribution of a teaching hospital to Nottingham health
THE idea for University Hospital and the Queen's Medical Centre was born more than 40 years ago. The government of the day recognised the country would need more doctors and that training should not be dominated by large London hospitals. Today, Nottingham has one of the best teaching hospitals in Europe, attracting consultants at the top of their game in terms of expertise, research and development. And this is expertise in the midst of our community.
Prof David Greenaway, vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham, says it does far more than educate students and carry out cutting-edge research. It has already set up its own academy in Bilborough and a second with a technical bent is likely in Lenton.
But the university contributes hugely to the wellbeing of the city through its hospitals and their affiliations to the medical school. Our GPs may teach there and medical students will gain practical experience in their surgeries.
Prof Greenaway says: "The creation of the medical school has really helped improve healthcare in Nottingham. But it is not just about the QMC and the City Hospital. We have a big healthcare trust and that is often forgotten about. For instance, mental health doesn't get the same exposure or resource as physical health.
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"We live in a world where mental health will become even more important. About 800,000 today are living with dementia; by 2020, that will be one million.
"In 20 years' time, the number of 65-year-olds will be 51 per cent higher than it is now. The number of 85-year-olds will be double what it is now. These are big issues.
"We have a healthcare trust in Nottingham which is very effective, again integrated with the university. The new Institute of Mental Health on the Jubilee Campus has the second-biggest cluster of specialists in terms of mental health treatment and research outside the Institute of Psychiatry in London. That contributes.
"Healthcare in not just about doctors. It is about nurses and other allied health professionals. We have a big nursing school that feeds the health economy."
It is easy to take the MRI scanner for granted today as a diagnostic tool. But remember, it was invented here in Nottingham by Sir Peter Mansfield and changed diagnostics globally.
Nottingham is also a centre for the treatment of child brain tumours and other paediatric treatments and surgery. There are 480 diagnoses of brain tumours in children a year, some of which come to the QMC to be treated by Professor David Walker and Professor Richard Grundy, who head the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre.
"It is a devastating disease but they are making big breakthroughs in how they treat it," says Prof Greenaway.
If he quickly pulls out facts and figures with confidence, it is because he was appointed to chair the Shape of Training Board set up by the General Medical Council and its partners to look at the kind of education and training doctors will need in the future in a country with an ageing population.
Not only are people living longer, they are fitter and will make different demands on the medical profession.
"It will change the way that doctors train for the next generation," he says. His report is due in September.
Nottingham University turns over £550m a year, injecting at least £1.1 billion into the local economy. While it employs professors and lecturers, most of the workforce is non-academic with backroom and support staff, catering, security and groundsmen.
About 33,000 students attend the university who have strong spending power in Nottingham's shops and restaurants, particularly the international students who will head for famous brands to take back with them.
"All of that is important to the local economy," said Prof Greenaway. "We produce high-quality graduates for local employers. We know employers come to Nottingham because they want to partner the university in our research and development and benefit from our research."
The transformation and the speed of the transformation of the former Raleigh factory site is breathtaking. Many new buildings are statements. Signature architecture attracts students and attracts co-locators.
Shortly, construction will begin of the GSK sustainable chemistry laboratories at a cost of £18 million.
As well as more jobs on the former Raleigh site than when the cycle giant occupied it in recent times, the jobs are better paid. Just what Nottingham is looking for.
The list of new buildings is impressive, transforming, creating an exciting and lively streetscape, a cluster of high design which includes the Sir Colin Campbell Building straddling Triumph Road – the Energy Technology Centre, Geo-Spatial Science Building, Aerospace Technology Centre and Institute of Mental Health. The list is not exhaustive and more will follow soon with an equally impressive wow factor.
GSK has given £12m towards the laboratories. GSK's chief executive and new chancellor, Sir Andrew Witty – a former economics graduate – was impressed by what he saw and influenced the pharma-giant's donation.
The laboratories will be carbon-neutral over their lifetime, a significant environmental statement. It is a statement of ambition, confidence, and that is important, says Prof Greenaway.
Triumph Road may once have been named after a bicycle. Today, it marks the successful transformation from industry to academe.
Lakeside Art Centre is probably the nearest many get to the university, with its art gallery, exhibition space and theatre.
Not only does it attract visitors in large numbers but Prof Greenaway very obviously wants people to enjoy the parkland setting and gardens of the university and, on the right occasions, the talks and demonstrations in some of the buildings.
"It is for the broader community," he says.