The Homerton-educated doctor will see you now!

By Laura Kenworthy 2min read
Homerton medical students

When Professor Geoff Ward completed his eight-year term as Principal last year, he cited as one of his proudest achievements the introduction of Medicine to Homerton.

“We’re 12 minutes from Addenbrooke’s, this fantastic, world-leading hospital, and yet we didn’t have Medicine, which I thought was very counter-intuitive,” he told last summer’s Homertonian magazine. “So I asked whether we could offer it, and was told no. There was a nationwide annual quota for medical students, and the Colleges which already offered it had very tight numbers, so for us to take it on, one of the other Colleges would have to give up some of their slots to us, and why would they do that? But then Trinity offered to give one up, which gave us something to push at.”

Six medical students eventually joined Homerton in the autumn of 2016, and last weekend celebrated the completion of their course, ahead of their graduation in November.

That first intake mostly arrived at Homerton having applied to other colleges and been pooled. “I had to Google Homerton,” admits Rob Beckett, who had initially applied to Pembroke. Other colleges with an established history of Medicine operated resource banks and online drives of notes and past papers to share with new students, which didn’t exist for this cohort.

“We all had mentors at other colleges, and slowly built up our own resources, which the years below have been able to use,” says Rob.

“The year below now message us a lot for advice,” says Jess Prabhakaran. “But we had Directors of Studies in high places, who knew how the system worked. I think Julia (Dr Julia Kenyon, Pre-Clinical Director of Studies in Medicine) was quite protective of us.”

As the first three years of the course take place in lecture theatres in town, it took a while for the fabled benefits of being near the hospital to manifest. But for clinical training, the proximity came into its own.

All six students have jobs lined up for the next stage of their training, and many will be returning to their local hospitals, Jess to Bromley and Rob to Stoke-on-Trent. They leave behind a thriving Homerton medical scene.

“Each year the subject dinner gets a bit bigger!” says Jess. “That first year there were just the six of us, and this year there were six years’ worth of students.”

Dr Rachel Williams, Clinical Director of Studies in Medicine, says:

“Successfully completing the six-year Medicine course is a huge achievement and I am enormously proud of our first Homertonian Doctors of Medicine. I am sure they will be an asset to the Profession and a credit to Homerton as they join the ranks of the NHS work force.”