Bolton College of Medical Sciences gets the go-ahead

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Bolton College of Medical Sciences, planning,

Bolton Council’s planning committee has backed plans for the new Bolton College of Medical Sciences, which will transform how NHS workforces are trained in the UK

Planning permission has been granted for The Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS). Due to open in 2022, it is expected to transform how NHS workforces are trained in the UK, alleviate staffing pressures and result in an improved level of care.

Once open, the Bolton College of Medical Sciences will give people a direct route into health and social care employment, and provide training opportunities for existing hospital staff to upskill and further their careers.

BCMS is understood to be the first of its kind in the UK, due to its new model of partnership, a unique teaching and learning environment, and combination of training provision across disciplines, professions and agencies. It is expected BCMS will become a blueprint for other NHS foundation trusts.

The new state-of-the-art vocational and professional skills and training facility in Bolton is a joint venture between the University of Bolton, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton Council, and Bolton College. It will focus on learning within a healthcare culture, with practical training within simulated hospital environments. It will be able to teach 3,000 students a year, with around 1,000 apprentices in a range of health and social care roles.

At the planning committee in Bolton, councillors gave the go-ahead for the designs, which include a teaching and learning space, café, an associated staff and service space, and a dedicated multi-story car park. The new facilities will utilise the latest medical technology, with simulation suites and surgical and acute care environments. The 7,600sqm site is located at the Bolton NHS Trust hospital site in Farnworth.

The Bolton College of Medical Sciences development will incorporate two separate buildings: a part four/part five-storey education building for the college, and a three/four-storey car park to serve the learners, teaching and support staff, and any visitors to the facility. The plans also detail an outdoor recreational space with planting, benches and cycle parking.

The overall project cost is £30m. When open, the facility is expected to bring £150m to the local economy. Greater Manchester Combined Authority has granted £10m through its Skills Capital Fund, supported by the University of Bolton Group, in partnership with Bolton Council and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

A tendering process will now begin for contractors and construction partners on the development. The construction phase of the site is expected to create 150 full-time equivalent jobs. Once open, it is expected to create an additional 25,000 jobs, including apprenticeships, in its first 20 years.

Bill Webster, principal of Bolton College, said: “This is an incredibly important milestone for Bolton College of Medical Science, allowing us to move forward with this innovative project. Our health and social care courses are the largest fastest growing part of our curriculum and this marks a new era of healthcare skills and training. BCMS will benefit people locally and beyond, through improving healthcare provision and helping to combat pressures on the NHS workforce.”

Kondal Reddy Kandadi, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Bolton, commented: “We are grateful to Bolton Council for supporting and approving this strategically important planning application for building the Bolton College of Medical Sciences.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Farnworth, Bolton and the whole of Greater Manchester. This will truly transform Health Education in the region by integrating Further and Higher Education and providing holistic progression routes for students.

“This collaboration between the university, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council will provide a state of the art infrastructure and learning experience for students in pre-degree and degree programmes in Health.

“There is an urgent skills gap nationally in Health disciplines and this project will dramatically increase capacity and capability in that area, which is absolutely crucial for developing a sustainable workforce.”

Construction on the site will commence on 2 December 2019 under the Procure North West framework.

BCMS is expected to welcome its first intake of learners in 2022.

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