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New Medical School, But Where?

Coventry has won a medical school from the Government but no one knows where it can be built because of the local squabbles over where a new super hospital is to be sited.

Now David Loughton, chief executive of the Walsgrave Hospital Trust, is urging Health Minister Frank Dobson to decide quickly where he wants the new hospital to be built.

Loughton is at loggerheads with the city council and with Coventry Community Health Council who want the new hospital to be built near to the city centre on the site of the current Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital.

Loughton wants it on the Walsgrave site on the fringes of the city and he was backed by Coventry Health Authority.

Community Health Council have referred the matter to the Government for decision however because of the opposing views.

News of the medical school, to be jointly run between Warwick University, Leicester University and the Walsgrave Hospital Trust, is a tremendous boost to the city.

Coventry will become a university teaching hospital and Loughton says:

"It puts us in the premier league of hospitals in this country. But I urge Frank Dobson, the Secretary of State for Health, to make a very rapid decision on the site of the new hospital."

Rosemary Tomkinson, chairperson of the community health council, said she expected a decision in September, and said the medical school did not have to be on either of the hospital sites under review.

Suggestions that the drawn out decision-making process could jeopardise the new hospital were wrong, she said.

"I don’t think the government would have awarded us a medical school if they did not intend us having a new hospital," she added.

The medical school is a major prize for the city. More consultants will be recruited to train the new doctors and Warwick University will have almost 500 medical students who will do their practical training on the wards of the new super hospital.

There will be leading edge research conducted at the new school, which is expected to attract some of the top medical brains. It could be housed on the Warwick University site but most believe it would be better built as part of the super hospital to give students ease of access to the wards.

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Arts Alive - 29 May to 3 July 1999

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