Our curriculum

Our curriculum is patient-centred; it will help you to develop the core competencies in medicine, gain key teamwork skills and understand the workings of the internationally admired NHS (National Health Service). Find out more about the course and entry requirements for 2021 entry.

We have successfully completed several stages of the rigorous General Medical Council (GMC) approval process and have been approved for undergraduate recruitment starting from 2018. The GMC has now committed to undertaking a programme of further quality assurance, including annual visits and following the first cohort of students as they progress through their course until they graduate in 2023.

Our partners

We are partnered with a number of carefully selected NHS trusts and primary care providers who serve an exceptionally diverse range of communities and settings such as inner city areas, towns and rural locations. This means you will encounter a wide range of patients and experiences, giving you an excellent foundation for your future medical career. Learning how to recognise and manage a broad spectrum of conditions as well as understanding the importance of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team will give you a wider perspective of clinical practice. Find out more.

Your placements

Clinical Placements are an important part of your course. Much of your learning in years 3, 4 and 5 will take place in real life clinical environments. Working with medical staff will allow you to get first-hand experience and you will apply the knowledge that you have already gained during Phase 1. You will be based in our partner organisations - hospitals, clinics and a range of medical facilities with a particular emphasis on primary care. Find out more.

'Simulated patient' opportunities

Please note that applications for the Spring/Summer 2021 recruitment of simulated patients are now closed.  Many thanks to those who have been in touch to express their interest.  Please watch this space for future opportunities.  

What is a ‘Simulated Patient’?

‘Simulated Patients’ are members of the public who assist with the development and training of our medical students.   They will play the role of “real” patients, giving our students the opportunity to practise their communication skills, preparing them for their future careers as doctors.

What would I be expected to do?

‘Simulated patients’ play a key role in the assessment of our students’ communication skills.  Here you will be given a “brief” and asked to play the part of a patient in a role-play scenario.  A student will then carry out a consultation with you, either with the aim of making a diagnosis or practising a particular aspect of their communication skills e.g. empathy or breaking bad news.  You will also have the opportunity to give feedback to our students, helping them to become skilled, empathetic doctors.  

Why become a ‘Simulated Patient’?

‘Simulated Patients’ will help to train the next generation of doctors for the NHS, many of whom will work in the local area. We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to meet with other ‘Simulated Patients’ and our medical students. We expect that this will be a sociable and rewarding experience. It may also help to enhance your CV if you are applying for other roles in the future. 

If accepted onto the programme, ‘Simulated Patients’ will employed on a casual worker basis and paid at a rate of £15 per hour.

Who can become a ‘Simulated Patient’?

We are keen that our ‘Simulated Patients reflect the rich diversity of our local community.  There is a minimum age of 18 years, but otherwise, we would like to hear from all interested parties irrespective of ethnicity, level of education, age or previous employment.  No previous acting experience is required.  However, ‘simulated patients’ should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • An interest in medical education
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Punctuality and professionalism
  • Giving appropriate feedback (after receiving training in this area)
  • Good spoken English

Those involved in communication skills simulation should also be able to:

  • Learn and retain roleplay information from a short briefing script
  • Respond spontaneously to questions from students in a roleplay scenario
  • Convey the feelings of the 'simulated patient' e.g upset, frustrated, embarrassed etc.

At present, the COVID-19 restrictions necessitate that our assessments are carried out virtually using an online platform.  Therefore, you will be able to participate from the comfort of your own home.  However, you will need access to a computer/tablet with a webcam and reliable internet connection in order to take part. 

What level of commitment will I need?

You will be employed as a casual worker and invited to participate on an “ad hoc” basis. Assessment will be carried out over a series of dates in mid-May and mid-July: you can choose to participate for either half days (approx. 4 hours) or full days (approx. 8 hours).

Will I be trained?

Yes, you will be invited to an initial induction session that will introduce you to Aston Medical School and give you further information about the ‘Simulated patient’ programme.  We will also give you the opportunity practise several role play scenarios and receive feedback on these before working with the students.  Further “on the job” training will also be offered. 

How to become a ‘Simulated Patient’

If you are interested in helping us with our work then please email: ams_mbchb@aston.ac.uk.  A member of the Aston Medical School team will then be in touch with the full job description and an application form.  If you wish to progress with your application then it will be necessary to attend an informal online interview so that we can get to know you better. 

Expert patient volunteering

What are Expert Patients?

Expert patients are those who have been affected by a significant medical condition and are willing to share their experience of this with our students.  We would like to hear from anyone who feels able to describe and discuss a significant health problem that has impacted on their quality of life.  However, we would be particularly interested to involve people who have experienced any of the following conditions:

  • Ischaemic Heart Disease i.e. angina or a heart attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease
  • Asthma
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Renal Colic (Kidney Stones)
  • A deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • Peripheral vascular disease (a blockage in the blood supply to the leg)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severe or recurrent migraine
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Why are they needed?

The current lockdown restrictions have made it more difficult for our students to informally interact with patients whilst they are on placement in hospital or at GP practices.  Consequently, there is a need for us to find other ways of helping them to understand what it is like to be a patient.  In particular, it is important for our students to gain an insight into the experience of living with some of the medical conditions that they have studied from a scientific perspective.  We hope that this will enable them to offer improved care to patients in the future.

What is involved?

Participants will be invited to describe their experience of illness through an interview with a member of our medical team: this will be observed by our students.  The possible topics to be covered will be discussed with you beforehand to ensure that you comfortable with them.  We would not expect this to include any sensitive or personal matters.  The interview will last for between 30-45 minutes and will include time for the students to ask any questions that they may have.   

How can I take part?

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions all meetings and interviews will be take place via a secure online platform, so you can participate from the comfort of your own home. However, you will need access to an appropriate device (e.g. computer/tablet with a webcam) and a reliable internet connection.   Expert patients should be at least 18 years old but there is no upper age limit.  No previous experience of medical education is required but you will need to be comfortable with discussing your own health.

Why should I take part?

We hope that being an Expert Patient will prove to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped to train the future generation of doctors and have raised awareness about your own medical condition, with the aim of improving care for others going forwards. 


If you are interested in participating in this programme then please email: ams_mbchb@aston.ac.ukA member of our team may then contact you to discuss things further.

Information for General Practitioners

We are partnered and have Service Level Agreements in place with over 100 GP surgeries to teach undergraduate medical students. We are always keen to hear from enthusiastic GP colleagues to help to train the next generation of doctors!

Thank you very much for reviewing this information. If you are keen to sign up, please email Ashwin Patel: ams_mbchb_phase1@aston.ac.uk

When did Aston Medical School Start?

Aston Medical School (AMS) welcomed its first students in September 2018. We have 69 Year-1 students. AMS has been awarded government funding for 100 students from 2019.

When do students have clinical placements in Primary care?

AMS has a strong focus on Primary Care.

Year 1: Two weeks of an 'observational' placement, observing the breadth of the multidisciplinary team. The students gain an appreciation of the delivery of NHS services, develop their consultation skills, appreciate the holistic assessment and management of patients, and develop their professional identity

Year 2: Nine days developing their consultation skills, examination skills, and diagnostic reasoning skills. Students are placed in groups of approximately 8 at the same site, with direct teaching from their GP Educator

Year 3: 10-week placement

Year 5: Six-week placement

Why should I be motivated to teach medical students?

We have a wonderful opportunity to promote Primary Care and re-balance the workforce crisis we face, and AMS is directly addressing this. The Wass report (By choice - not by chance) recommends that students recognise the breadth and complexity of general practice care, have an increase in undergraduate general practice placements, and have positive and enthusiastic General Practitioner role models. There is a direct relationship between the percentage of clinical curriculum devoted to authentic general practice experience and subsequent career choice. Whether students choose a postgraduate training route in General Practice or not, you will be directly contributing to training well- rounded doctors who value Primary Care. AMS will also support you with CPD.

What does the Year 1 placement entail?

The placement is an observational placement, and there are no tutorials to deliver. Students spend time with the breadth of the Primary Care team, including both healthcare and administrative colleagues. The aims of the placement include gaining an appreciation of the delivery of NHS services, developing their consultation skills, appreciating the holistic assessment and management of patients, and developing their professional identity. Students are allocated to placement in at least pairs (and in larger numbers depending on the size of the surgery). The placement week is Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (except Wednesday afternoons when the students are back at the University for their sports/ societies afternoon).

The GP Educator is overall responsible for the coordination of the placement, and providing individualised structured placement at the end of the week. Core activities of the placement week include:

  • Induction (a brief induction on Monday morning to include a meet and greet, general introduction to the practice, a tour, health and safety, etc.)
  • Reception (observing patients and receptionist interactions, both from behind and in front of the reception desk; and spending time talking to patients in the waiting room)
  • GP Clinic
  • Nurse Clinic
  • Longitudinal Patient (a patient is specifically selected by the GP educator for the medical students to consult with: the students gain an appreciation of the bio-psycho-social impacts of illness, and speak with the same patient in the second placement week in June, and then present the case in a poster presentation at the Medical School)
  • Student-led Feedback (students are required to seek feedback from both patients and healthcare staff on their performance)

  • Feedback (individualised feedback from the GP Educator for approximately 20 minutes at the end of each placement week)

In addition to the core activities, the GP Educator also coordinates the timetabling of supplementary activities, depending on the services delivered at the GP surgery:

  • Home visits
  • Chronic disease clinics
  • Baby clinics
  • Practice meetings
  • Significant event analysis meetings
  • Multidisciplinary team meetings
  • Healthcare Assistant or Physician Associate clinics
  • Community nursing experience
  • Ancillary services such as audiology, physiotherapy, podiatry, etc.

The timetable for the second week in June can be replicated, and to include additional supplementary experiences wherever possible. The students are able to integrate additional knowledge and skills they have accrued over the Year-1 teaching at the medical school into their learning, during the second placement week.

I have no previous teaching experience – can i still get involved?

Absolutely, Aston Medical School will support you with training to establish your site as an undergraduate teaching practice.

Are there any additional commitments required of the GP Educator?

  • A mandatory annual half-day training at the Medical School (which is funded)
  • If no previous experience in education, then training to up-skill
  • A commitment to engage in peer review of teaching every 3 years
  • Confirmation that the GP Educator has undertaken all mandatory training for their clinical role including training in Equality and Diversity, that there is sufficient time in their job plan to deliver the requirements of the placement, and that there are no GMC conditions in place, health matters, or pending investigations that restrict the role of the GP Educator

What are the requirements for the site to be eligible for Year 1 placements?

  • The GP surgery is within a commuting time of approximately 1 hour from the Medical School via public transport (if your surgery is further than this, you may be eligible for placements in subsequent years)
  • The most recent CQC overall rating is either Good or Outstanding
  • There is suitable capacity of facilities and staffing, including consultation rooms, IT access, clinical and administrative staff, and mechanisms for induction and reporting concerns
  • If the site is involved in teaching other healthcare professionals (either medical/nursing/ PA/pharmacy/HCA etc. at either undergraduate/postgraduate level), then there are suitable mechanisms to delineate responsibilities, make staff aware of the roles of each cohort, and there is sufficient capacity and no overall conflict of interest

I want to sign up! What happens next?

  • Over the next few months, Aston Medical School will offer a Service Level Agreement with your GP Surgery
  • All GP Surgeries who have an SLA in place will be asked to state their capacity for teaching Year 1 students 
  • A Quality Assurance visit will be arranged over the summer
  • If the GP Surgery is approved, training dates will be offered in September 
  • The first placement week is in November

Get in touch

Email: ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk
Telephone: For general enquiries +44 (0)121 204 3284 or for undergraduate admissions and recruitment +44 (0)121 204 3030

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