Birmingham & Black Country

Ex Villa chief helps 'poorer' pupils into medicine

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Media captionDean Elsmore hopes to become a doctor

More than 100 children from underprivileged communities in the West Midlands are to be given the chance to get into medicine.

Aston University is opening a medical school in 2018 and wants to enable them to have careers in the medical field.

Former Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis has given £150,000 towards the project, enough funding for three years.

After workshops, placements and research days, 20 year 12 pupils can go on to join the university.

On acceptance, they will spend five years studying for an undergraduate degree in medicine, the university said.

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The Office for Fair Access, an independent body that regulates fair access to higher education in England, has said only 4% of medical students are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The criteria for the two-year Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme includes being eligible for free school meals, being from a local authority care background or from a family where neither parent has been to university.

At the end of the scheme, the university said students can apply for a subsidised place at the new medical school, join another healthcare degree course or attend another medical school.

Student Dean Elsmore, from Wednesbury, said he had been inspired to pursue a medical career after seeing his father being treated for almost 70% burns from an industrial accident in 1993.

Image caption Doug Ellis said the school was an "exciting model" for medical education

"It's given me inspiration to try to achieve what the people [that have] helped him have. Maybe I can go on and help other people because what the people have done to my dad has changed his life," he said.

Sir Doug Ellis said he wanted to "level the playing field" for access into medical education.

He added: "Those students from the local community with a passion and ability to study medicine should be fostered and supported - irrespective of their background."

Image caption Dean Elsmore helps care for his father, who is due to undergo his 38th operation, at home

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