A Cumbrian student is realising his lifetime dream of becoming a doctor after receiving a prestigious scholarship from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Mohamed Al-Shamari has been awarded the 2020 Dr Kate Granger Scholarship, which covers all tuition fees for the duration of the five-year MBBS Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery degree at UCLan.

The 23-year-old, from Keswick, said: “I can’t believe I’ve been chosen to receive such an amazing Scholarship. I was in a state of shock and disbelief when I found out, it’s truly incredible. Getting to the stage where I’m studying to become a doctor hasn’t been easy, but this is my reward for all my perseverance.”

Mohamed has previously completed a biomedical sciences degree in London but his desire to study medicine stayed with him.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to be doctor but sadly personal circumstances affected my sixth-form grades and I didn’t get the results I needed at the time. I was redirected to do a biomedical sciences degree and it was one of my greatest achievements to become a registered and accredited biomedical scientist but all the time I kept dreaming of becoming a doctor. Now it’s finally happening, I’m so very happy.”

The Kate Granger Scholarship was established specifically for Cumbrian students to honour the memory of a doctor who campaigned for better patient care while suffering from terminal cancer.

The 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 and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, 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.

Once Mohamed successfully completes his training, he hopes to become an accident and emergency doctor within the NHS.

Professor Sam Dearman, Director of Medical Education at North Cumbria Integrated Care, said: “It’s such great news for Mohamed personally to have received this prestigious award, we are all very happy for him and look forward to seeing him progress and qualify as doctor.  It matters for Cumbria that he receives this award as a resident of Cumbria, who can train and qualify in Cumbria.  There are so many career opportunities within the NHS, including Cumbria where we are a centre of excellence in undergraduate medical education and providers of rural and remote healthcare. We have lots of unique opportunities for personal and professional development. This is all part of our Cumbrian identity and collective efforts to keep improving our health services.”

Professor Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at UCLan, added: “The Dr Kate Granger Scholarship offers a helping hand to a student who is passionate about working in medicine and contributing towards healthcare provision in the local area. It’s fantastic to see how driven Mohamed is and I wish him every success.”

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