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Leeds or Newcastle University for Medicine?

(29 Posts)
fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 12:33:42

Hi, my daughter is in the really lucky position of having offers from both Leeds and Newcastle to study Medicine. She didn't expect to have such a great dilemma and is finding it hard to decide which to firm. Does anyone have any views/experiences of either? Thank you so much!

Northernlurker Tue 18-Mar-14 12:36:00

Geographically is there any advantage to either? Closer to home/further away grin

I wouldn't have thought there was much to pick between them so she could consider the city she'd rather live in.

I think I'd go for Newcastle.

Theas18 Tue 18-Mar-14 12:46:01

Look carefully at the courses, does either suit her learning styles better? I would reckon that's the biggy.

Newcastle can be a blooming loooong way away depending where you live obviously(!) but I have DD at a uni just over an hour away and it's a prefect distance- she doesn't ever come home ( we didn't expect her to) apart from at the end of each term but we can pop over for concerts/short visits a couple of times a term and we just appear, go to concert, buy her and a few mates a pint and go away again- we aren't cramping her life by being around all weekend etc.

Also god forbid she did have an emergency and say ended up in hospital etc we could be there fast. Yes 18-early 20s is an adult but they are still really young in difficult situations (eg a friends child- same age as DD was quite ill for year 13 and repeated that year, he was already 18 by the time he got ill- birthday sept, but he needed his parents a lot that year. I'd hate not to be able to at least give them some support if ill/crisis of any sort)

ouryve Tue 18-Mar-14 12:51:17

I'd go for Newcastle, but I'm biased. It's a good place to be a student.

scaevola Tue 18-Mar-14 12:59:55

I doubt there's much difference between the courses, or the reputation of the medical schools. So it really does come down to where she wants to live.

I'd choose Newcastle - love the city and like escaping easily to the coast.

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 13:12:05

Thanks so much for replies. Good point about distance and emergencies (it's something I will worry about, but not an issue as far as DD is concerned!). I've heard lots of good things about Newcastle and it seems a friendly, safe place, but if anyone has any views on Leeds that would be great too! Thanks again xx

patienceisvirtuous Tue 18-Mar-14 13:18:54

I work at Newcastle Uni so I'm biased, but knowing both cities I'd definitely say come here. The uni and city are fantastic - I don't think you can beat the student experience here - plus city, coast and countryside right on your doorstep, culture, fab shopping and fantastic nightlife smile

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 13:30:20

Thank you patienceisvirtuous! Wish I knew how to add the smiley faces.... I'm new to Mumsnet and a technophobe smile Any thumbs up for Leeds? (it's the closest to home, but I think DD is favouring Newcastle!!)

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 13:31:00

OH a colon and bracket worked smile smile

Northernlurker Tue 18-Mar-14 15:57:42

Well Leeds has got a lot going on. If she likes walking then the Dales are on your doorstep and there's plenty of culture and nightlife. Medically speaking then possibly the Freeman at Newcastle has the edge slightly over the Leeds hospitals in terms of specialisms but I think plenty of Leeds medics would argue that. I've never lived there so can't comment on that but I do know it's a PIG of a city to drive in. In terms of jobs etc she's going to be applying from a position of strength as both are well respected. She's done very well!

Booboostoo Tue 18-Mar-14 17:19:53

I used to work at the Leeds Medical school a few years ago - I know nothing about Newcastle though sorry, some of the same observations may or may not apply there as well.

Leeds Medical school received a disastrous QAA score in the late nineties which was a blessing in disguise as it gave them a push to radically change the entire curriculum and instantly brought them in line with the newest educational theories in medicine. The fundamentals are:

- that this is a curriculum based on teaching the students how to learn by themselves and how to continue researching and learning as part of their professional practice for the rest of their working lives, rather than expecting them to memorise facts that may well be out of date by the end of the degree (having said that, of course this being medicine, there is still quite a lot of memorization!).

- that it is an integrated curriculum, with cross ties to other disciplines like ethics, opportunities to learn in a variety of different ways and a lot of input from the patient's perspective and interdisciplinary work.

Leeds is a very popular student destination, the city is heaving with bars, clubs and fun things to do. The medical students' union is well organised and puts on a lot of events, so even with the hectic medical school schedule there is the opportunity to relax and enjoy life!

However, Leeds is extremely stretched. We had a chronic shortage of tutors, to the point where we had to beg doctors to come over and teach - however useful communication skills training might be, at the end of the day you need to learn medicine from a medic (this may well be a national problem though)! There were also huge problems with facilities, for example, I used to teach in a 250 seater lecture theatre, but the year had 270 students so students often had to sit on the floor!!! This has an effect on teaching standards, e.g. anatomy lessons used to have 6 students per cadaver which allowed everyone at least an opportunity at hands on practice, they now have 12 students per cadaver, so 6 watch while 6 wait their turn. Pastoral care was very varied as well, which is a very important point because medical students are often stressed by the pressure of work and do need extra support. Some pastoral tutors did a great job of getting to know their students and establishing support networks, others ignored them for 5 years.

Well done to your daughter and best of luck with her choice!

JabberJabberJay Tue 18-Mar-14 17:26:02

My best friend did medicine at Newcastle. She loved the course and the city.

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 17:38:39

Northernlurker, Booboostoo & Jabber, thank you so much for your useful insights! Booboo, do you know if Leeds are still short of tutors? Jabber, when was your friend at Newcastle and do you know if she/he was happy with pastoral support? Thanks again for your replies, really appreciate it. smile

Ikeameatballs Tue 18-Mar-14 17:52:12

I work in a hospital near Newcastle which regularly gets students and I'm involved in small group teaching with them. I focus on if they are enjoying their short placement within my department rather than the bigger picture of the course/overall student experience but they always seem pretty happy with what's going on. In the clinical attachments, like mine, they have outcomes that they need to achieve and there is a balance between formative and summative clinical and professional assessment which mirrors the work-based assessments needed once you actually start work.

In terms of the students themselves I have noticed that they are a pretty diverse group, more so I think than when I was at Uni (2001grad) both in terms of age and socio-economic backgrounds.

I also know, from my own peer group, that many Newcastle Uni medics go on to work in the area in the longer term which suggests that people find it easy to settle in the city.

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 18:09:36

Ikea, Thanks for your reply smile

wonkylegs Tue 18-Mar-14 18:25:15

My DH went to Newcastle Medical School and has also taught students there since he qualified.
He's currently back doing a part time medical teaching masters at the moment whilst working.
He rates it very highly. Funnily enough he's from Leeds originally.
He also rates the hospitals in Newcastle slightly higher than Leeds, we looked at them all in detail when he was applying for his consultants job last year.
I did 2 of my degrees at Newcastle (non medic) and loved it as a place to live & study. I came from Bristol originally but the distance was not really an issue for me. Newcastle is a fab city to live in, so much that I stayed there for 16yrs until we moved last summer for work, we're still in the NE just not in Newcastle.
The cost of living is still relatively affordable (although there are expensive bits), the locals are welcoming to students, lots to do, easy access to Coast & countryside & good transport links especially if you are on the east coast mainline.
I'm sure wherever she picks will be great.

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 18:41:01

Thanks wonkylegs, that's so helpful - it's such a big (but lovely) decision for her to make and we're not a medic family so advice is really appreciated smile

Booboostoo Tue 18-Mar-14 20:33:53

I think there is a general shortage which has only gotten worse since the consultant contracts came in. The problem is that the University pays the NHS a lump sum for teaching, but no particular people are identified to deliver it. It's not like Uni lecturers who are specifically hired to teach, it's a general obligation of the hospital to provide teaching in various forms. The actual teaching is down pretty much to volunteers with an interest in the area and it can be difficult to get doctors to come forward when they are just so busy with everything else.

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 23:01:52

Thanks Booboo.

LaundryServices Tue 18-Mar-14 23:10:46

Newcastle definitely! I went to uni there.

TheFarSide Tue 18-Mar-14 23:16:01

I assume she has visited both?

fairywoods Tue 18-Mar-14 23:20:30

Yes she has visited both and is going back for a campus tour and post offer day which should help the decision. She was hoping for one offer and certainly didn't expect two - so it's tricky but lovely dilemma with different courses and cities to choose smile

TheFarSide Tue 18-Mar-14 23:31:53


Below is a general checklist I have used with students of what to consider when choosing a university - much of it has already been mentioned above.

•Graduate employment
•League tables
•University type (traditional, new, specialist; large or small)
•Course (professional, vocational, academic)
•Teaching/assessment methods
•Location (town or country, travel time & cost)
•Campus (city centre or on-site)
•Special interests eg sports
•Social life, clubs & societies

Weegiemum Tue 18-Mar-14 23:34:43

I ran this by my dh (he's a GP and an undergraduate tutor for GP in Scotland, so not right in the area!!!)

Reputation wise : Newcastle

But there are some great undergrad positions that are quite innovative via Leeds.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Tue 18-Mar-14 23:35:20

Not medical students, but I've had one child at Leeds & one at Newcastle

The Leeds one left Leeds, & so did all her friends; the Newcastle one is still there & so are most of his friends. I also know of some Newcastle med students who all stayed too. It does seem like a nicer place to live all round smile

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