I am pleased to present our third Annual Report and would like to thank warmly my colleagues Gavin Brown, Amelia Hunt and Bethan McMullen for seeing it to completion.
Readers of the first two Annual Reports will have noticed that we have changed our title. As of Summer 2011 we are now the Faculty of Health & Medicine, and we now sit alongside the University's three other Faculties as equal partners. At the same time we have signalled our intent regarding the development of undergraduate medical education (and other activities related to medicine) by establishing, formally, Lancaster Medical School as one of our four component parts. Our plans to 'de-couple' our medical education programme from that of Liverpool are well advanced, and the next few months see a series of visits from a panel of the General Medical Council who will assess the case for independent provision. We were delighted to see 'our' students graduate in July, and particularly gratified that this coincided with the University's award of an honorary degree to Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer. Dame Sally, other distinguished guests, and colleagues in the Faculty, were treated to two exceptional presentations by Professor Anne Garden (on undergraduate medical education) and Professor John Goodacre (on the work he is leading to join up local clinical research with that undertaken in the University).
In my introduction last year I signalled the new taught doctorate in palliative care, which had recruited well in 2010. This year we have introduced two further taught doctoral programmes, in Public Health and in Organisational Health & Well-Being, and I am delighted to report that recruitment to all three – very innovative – programmes has exceeded expectations. I am very grateful to those colleagues who have planned these programmes, to those who are delivering them, and to those who have overseen the recruitment. In 2012 we launch a fourth programme, on Mental Health. All four programmes sit very comfortably alongside the high-quality research we undertake in these fields.
I spoke last year about the 'cold climate' to which our colleagues in the NHS continue to be exposed. There remains lots of uncertainty concerning the final form of restructuring and the possible consequences this will have on patient care and outcomes. In higher education we too are facing considerable uncertainty, not least because of reduced government funding, pressures on Research Council budgets, and the unknown consequences of a tripling of undergraduate fees for Home/EU students. We hope to maintain resilience in the face of these 'system shocks' and, at the time of writing, there are some encouraging signs (for example, substantially increased numbers of applications for undergraduate study, compared with the same time last year).
I continue to be in the fortunate position of working with a wonderful senior management team that includes Heads of the four Divisions, Associate Deans, and the best possible support staff. To all those who help run the Faculty, and to those who deliver, and enable, high quality research, teaching, and continuing professional development, my heartfelt thanks.
I should like to end this introduction by paying tribute to our outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings. Paul leaves for Australia in December, having led the institution for almost ten years. He has supported health and medicine in many ways, whether in channelling a substantial proportion of an unrestricted donation in our direction, in supporting specific initiatives, or, most obviously, in initiating the establishment of the School, and now Faculty. His strategic vision and wise counsel will be much missed. We look forward very much to introducing his successor, Professor Mark Smith, to our work, early in 2012.
Professor Tony Gatrell, Dean