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Guardian Public Service Award for School widening participation scheme

A pre-medical school work placement scheme aimed at widening-participation for local A-level students considering a career in medicine, has been awarded the Guardian Public Service Award 2010 in Innovation and Progress. 

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The Newham Doc Scheme - run in partnership between Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Newham University Hospital NHS Trust – helps students whose social and economic circumstances may have prevented them achieving the required A-Level grades to enter medical school. The award – in the Diversity and Equality category - was announced at a ceremony in Old Billingsgate last night (Wednesday 23 November).

Students are selected by Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Newham University Hospital NHS Trust who work in partnership with local schools and Colleges to identify potential candidates.  The scheme runs for an academic calendar year during which students rotate through three placement areas with a focus on patient experience, basic science and working within a clinical team. They undergo regular performance and development meetings and their progress is formally assessed at intervals before recommendations are made to Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry regarding their place on the MBBS programme.

The scheme has so far seen 18 students, including the current four, benefit from a year of training, intensive support and learning opportunities within a clinical setting.  Two of them have since graduated from medical school and have now completed their first year working as doctors. 

Rukia Begum, one of the students who attended the programme said; “The scheme has given me invaluable, clinical experience and knowledge - exactly what potential medical students need in order that they make the right choice of becoming fine doctors.”

The Guardian Public Service Awards – now in their seventh year - are the leading celebration of excellence among organisations commissioning or providing services, and showcasing innovation and best practice across Whitehall, local government, the NHS and beyond.

David Brindle, the Guardian's Public Services editor, said: "With a new government in place and spending cutbacks at the top of its agenda, never before has it been so important to celebrate and honour the extraordinary contribution that those who deliver our public services make day in, day out. “

700 entries were submitted for 15 awards in different areas of the Public Sector. 

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