HOSPITAL bosses have joined an alliance with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to train up even more doctors and nurses.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) has signed a 10 year agreement with UCLan, which has bases in Burnley and Preston, to put East Lancashire firmly on the map as the region's leading NHS teaching trust.

Kevin McGee, the chief executive at ELHT, said patients would directly benefit from the partnership.

He said: "We are really excited that our two institutions have joined together in this important strategic alliance and for our future collaborations.

“At ELHT we are committed in supporting our local community, and what better way to do this than to create a partnership to train and educate the clinicians who will care for our patients tomorrow and many years into the future.

“By combining our significant expertise and organisational influence, ELHT and UCLan will be able to drive improvements in care for NHS patients across East Lancashire and beyond."

Both nationally and locally the NHS has struggled to recruit homegrown doctors and nurses.

Chorley A+E even closed for a short period time before reopening with reduced hours due to a lack of doctors specialising in emergency medicine.

Mr McGee said: "The alliance has already created a unique learning opportunity through the Mackenzie Scholarship.

"This provides an entirely free place together with a living bursary for one successful candidate each year on the UCLan MBBS (Bachelor Medicine, Bachelor Surgery) five year programme, which includes a clinical placement at ELHT. This scholarship shows our joint commitment to clinical education, research and creating strong career choices for local students.”

This scholarship is part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region and is specifically for potential students whose circumstances mean they are unlikely to study medicine despite being academically capable, in order to promote social mobility and widen participation.

Executive Dean of UCLan’s Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, Prof Cathy Jackson, said: “It will provide an opportunity for our students to practice in the diverse region of East Lancashire and support the local health care economy.

“By introducing joint clinical and academic posts we aim to attract some of the world's leading doctors to the region, which is an area that suffers from some of the worst health inequalities in the UK.”