One of the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) first medical scholarship students will soon be treating patients at Cumberland Infirmary as she begins her career as a junior doctor.

Rachel Tang graduated this week with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from UCLan. She was the first recipient of the Dr Kate Granger Scholarship, which was established in 2017 to honour the memory of a doctor who campaigned for better patient care while suffering from terminal cancer. Set up specifically for Cumbrian students, it covers all tuition fees for the duration of the five-year programme.

The 23-year-old from Whitehaven has spent the last five years training to be a doctor, with most of her placements based in Cumbria including at West Cumberland Hospital and a local GP surgery in Whitehaven.

Rachel Tang.PNG

Rachel, who is the first person in her family to work in healthcare, said: “The Dr Kate Granger Scholarship granted me a life-changing opportunity. It fills me with great pride knowing the impact I can continue to make for the local community in Cumbria, and reminiscent of Dr Kate Granger's positive impact and connection.

“I look forward to continuously learning as a junior doctor and working with widening participation and outreach programmes to encourage other people from Cumbria to pursue a career in medicine.”

The Dr Kate Granger scholarship is one of two medical degree scholarships offer by the University aimed at students from Cumbria and East Lancashire whose circumstances mean they are unlikely to study medicine despite being academically capable, in order to promote social mobility and widen participation.

Working with North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), the University established the scholarships as part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region, considering the issues both Lancashire and Cumbria have faced around attracting and retaining health professionals.

Dr Katie Poulton, a consultant and clinical lead of acute medicine at West Cumberland Hospital, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC), said:

“Rachel has shown nothing but dedication and passion throughout the five years of her scholarship.

“I am positive that her commitment to provide the best patient care will continue long after her graduation. We are proud of all that she has achieved and wish her the best of luck for her long, successful career ahead.”

Rachel, a former Keswick School pupil, added: “I am excited to be starting as a junior doctor at Cumberland Infirmary this year as it feels like I have come full circle. I was born in Cumbria, I worked at West Cumberland Hospital in my third year, and now I’m coming back as a working foundation doctor.

“I hope to do my team and my patients proud and take the opportunity to learn and help my local community.”