A wind of change from the west

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 11 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:64
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. 1London

    Students looking for a new way of learning medicine are heading west—to Peninsula Medical School in southwest England. Geoff Watts spoke to its founder, John Tooke, who was knighted in the New Year's Day honours

    Why would anyone agree to undertake something as arduous as setting up a new medical school? One person who can answer that is John Tooke, professor of vascular medicine at the University of Exeter. He admits that bidding to create a new institution while remaining active in research and clinical practice has proved a substantial challenge. The reward, of course, has been success—for Tooke and for the universities of Exeter and Plymouth. The Peninsula Medical School, with Tooke as its dean, opened in 2002 and will hatch its first graduates this summer.

    “By the time we'd won the bid I was hooked,” he says. “I could see this was a fantastic privilege.” He mourns the loss of time spent practising medicine but otherwise has no regrets. His original motive for becoming a doctor was to generate what he calls “health gain”; he's still doing so, but institutionally rather than individually.

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