Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Infobox University
name = Brighton and Sussex Medical School
type = Medical school

established = 2002
city = Brighton
state = Sussex
country = United Kingdom
campus = Falmer
dean = Prof Jonathan Cohen
free_label = Typical Offer
free = AAB
Entrance Exam = UKCAT
affiliations = University of Sussex and University of Brighton
undergrad = 686 (as of Oct 07)
website = []
Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) is one of a number of new medical schools formed in the UK following the Labour Governments 1997 election victory. Like other UK medical schools it is based on the principles and standards of 'Tomorrow's Doctor', an initiative by the General Medical Council outlining the role of British practitioners. The medical school itself is a partnership between the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. Students are technically full members of both universities with access to both sets of facilities. The school gained its license in 2002, its initial course being a heavily modified version of the University of Southampton course. It admits approximately 136 students per year with all of them being based for the first two years on the split campus at Falmer. As of 2008 the school accepts some 138 British medical students and an additional 10 from overseas, at 16 applications per place it is one of the most popular courses in the UK cite web|url=| British Medical School Statistics||accessdate=2008-09-08] .


The first intake of students began their five-year medical degree programmes in September 2003. Since then, it has become one of the most popular medical schools in the country. According to UCAS statistics, 2005 saw BSMS as the most competitive medical school to gain a place at, with over 25 applications per place.


The University of Sussex is situated in Falmer, just out of Brighton and has direct pedestrian access into the planned South Downs National Park. Falmer is roughly 9 minutes away from Brighton City Centre. The campus is situated across the A27 and South Coast railway line from the Sussex Falmer site. Both the Brighton and Sussex Falmer sites have accommodation, shopping facilities and other ancillary services.


The curriculum is a blend of both progressive and traditional teaching methods, based around lectures, practicals and small group based learning. BSMS does not use Problem Based Learning.

The University of Brighton provides the professional aspects of the course through its faculties of health, sciences and engineering using experience from other healthcare courses such as nursing and midwifery. In contrast Sussex provides primarily biological science and anatomy teaching for which it is better suited due to the close proximity of the Sussex portion of the medical school to the University of Sussex school of life sciences 'John Maynard Smith' building. Also located close by are the medical research building and the genome damage stability and control centre (an MRC research facilitiy).

The medical school requires human dissection of cadavers as a compulsory part of the course. This means the course is far more anatomically based than that of most other modern UK medical schools. As well as the emphasis on anatomy, BSMS also places a lot of focus on early clinical experience for the students from the first year onward.

BSMS is notable as the first medical school in the UK to integrate personal digital assistants (PDAs) into undergraduate teaching.

The intercalated degree

Although BSMS does not offer an accelerated graduate entry programme, subject to performance students may be offered the opportunity to study subjects of their choice in greater depth by taking an intercalated BSc degree in Medical Science (resulting in an extended 6 year course). This is taken between the third and fourth years of the BM BS studies and provides the necessary academic background for those who wish to embark on a career combining medical practice with medical research. It is possible to transfer to undertake the degree and then return to complete the medical course at BSMS.

Entry requirements

All BSMS candidates are expected to be able to demonstrate high academic ability. Candidates considered at interview to show exceptional potential may receive offers at a slightly lower level than those indicated below. Applicants normally need three A levels and must have studied both Biology and Chemistry to AS level and at least one of these subjects to A level. General Studies is not included. Most standard offers are now conditional on gaining 340 UCAS points in three A levels. BSMS also takes a proportionally high number of graduate entrants, the entry requirements for which are more diverse but typically based on a minimum of an upper second class degree (2i). As of 2006 entry onward all applicants are required to take the UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test).


BSMS is administered jointly by the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, and works closely with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The school principally occupies its own modern teaching facilities at the two universities’ adjacent sites in Falmer.

The main teaching and lecture buildings are located on the campus of the University of Sussex with a second facility housing clinical labs, another lecture theatre and most of the medical school's clinical facilities on the Brighton campus in Mayfield House. The accommodation is split between the Falmer campus of the University of Brighton, and the University of Sussex.

The two purpose-built teaching facilities for medicine at Falmer provide tutorial and seminar rooms, lecture theatres, clinical science laboratories and IT resource suites. Fully-equipped consultation rooms, identical to those used in GP surgeries and hospital out-patients departments, provide a setting in which to learn history-taking and examination. These are sited close to a clinical skills training area which also houses an advanced patient simulator, computer-controlled to represent normal and abnormal physiology and a realistic response to drugs.

Teaching building

- at University of Sussex campus

Facilities: Lecture theatre, dedicated PC suite, teaching/seminar rooms, anatomy laboratory, café, administrative facilities such as the deans office.

Research building

- at University of Sussex campus

Facilities: Fully equipped research laboratories, write-up areas, offices.

Mayfield House

- at University of Brighton, Falmer campus

Facilities: Lecture theatre, PC suite, teaching/seminar rooms, clinical skills suite, café.

Also located at Falmer are the Postgraduate Medical School and large biomedical science and health psychology research laboratories that have been recognised in successive HEFCE research assessment exercises as achieving international standards of excellence.

Emerton Building

-at Royal Sussex County Hospital

Facilities: Education centre and library

A purpose-built Medical Education Centre for third- and fourth-year students located at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. It was opened by Baroness Audrey Emerton in 2005.

The Centre provides comprehensive learning facilities including a wide-ranging health library, IT resources, pathology facilities, a clinical skills training area and teaching rooms for large and small group study.

Direct audio-visual links will be established between a number of teaching areas in the Emerton and ‘live’ clinical facilities including operating theatres.

ussex Education Centre

-at Mill View Hospital, Hove

Facilities: Lecture and seminar rooms, IT facilities and library, offices

Euan Keat Education Centre

- at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath

Facilities: Lecture theatre, seminar rooms, offices

Teaching hospitals and clinical placements

Students will undertake a range of clinical placements, mainly at the Royal Sussex but extending into other trust and primary care settings. The University Hospitals NHS Trust provides a full range of clinical specialties with major centres in cardiology/cardiovascular surgery, cancer, renal dialysis, neurosurgery and HIV medicine.

The clinical placements are served in the teaching hospitals throughout the south-east, including many in Kent, and all Sussex hospitals, such as the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital

The hospital provides general hospital services and specialist services, including cancer Services (Sussex Cancer Centre Fund, Cardiac (heart) Surgery, Maternity Services, Renal (kidney) Services, Intensive Care for Adult and Intensive Care for new born babies. It also houses the new Audrey Emerton Building, a medical education centre and library at where 3rd and 4th years are based. It was opened by Baroness Audrey Emerton in 2005.

The Brighton General Hospital

Brighton General Hospital is the headquarters of South Downs Health NHS Trust.

The Princess Royal Hospital

The Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, is part of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust. It is situated in the heart of Mid Sussex and the hospital enjoys far reaching views over the South Downs.

Regional attachment

In Year 5 students undertake clinical attachments in two different regional locations allocated from: Chichester, Eastbourne, Hastings, Haywards Heath, Redhill, Worthing and Brighton. Attachments will be available throughout the range of departments in an acute district general hospital, as well as community placements in mental health and general practice.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest teaching Trusts in the country providing general and specialist acute hospital care for more than a million people.

Services are located on two main sites, the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, which work in partnership with other local community hospitals, GP practices and clinics. The Trust provides district general hospital services to the local population of some 460,000. It also provides a range of specialist services including cancer services, neurosciences, cardiac surgery, renal services and intensive care for adults, children and new-born babies.The Trust is a very large public sector employer, employing some 5,500 staff with an annual budget of over £300 million. The Trust manages around 1,140 beds and provides the majority of its services from two main sites:

*The Royal Sussex County Hospital campus (including the Sussex Eye Hospital) in Brighton

*The Princess Royal Hospital campus (including the Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre) in Haywards Heath.

Children’s services are currently provided by the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children in Brighton. The Trust is in the process of transferring a contract for the re-provision of these services to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, with a planned opening in the spring of 2007.


The Brighton and Sussex Clinical Investigation and Research Unit (CIRU) is a £4 million state-of-the-art facility which offers a range of specialised equipment and resources to carry out clinical investigations, patient-centred research and research training. It is available for use by researchers from the regional health and academic sectors. It is a partnership between Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. The unit opened in September 2006 and has been developed to underpin the development of the medical school and Trust’s research strategy.


The Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre (CISC) is located on the University campus at Falmer. It is due to open in summer 2007. It houses an integrated Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) imaging system and a 1.5T Magnetic Resonance (MR) imager. It provides an important resource for the School’s research, particularly in oncology and neuroscience.

Institute of Postgraduate Medicine

The Institute of Postgraduate Medicine (IPGM) was founded in 2000 with Professor Richard Vincent as the Head of School. In 2006 it became one of the four academic divisions of Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The department contributes to both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and also to the research output of the School.

With 80 modules up to Masters level, IPGM provides three main programmes of study including:

Clinical Specialties - Cardiology, Diabetes, Nephrology, Trauma & Orthopaedics.

Public Health - Child Health, Epidemiology, Research Methods and Critical Appraisal, Women’s Health and Psychiatry.

Professional development - Primary Care, Personal Development, Leadership, Medical Education, Quality & Clinical Governance, Evidence-based Practice, and Knowledge & Management.

Staff research projects in the department include the preparation and support of medical teachers involved in inter-professional education; complexity theory in medical education, leadership and management; experience of non-graduates studying Masters courses; and the development of clinical reasoning in medical undergraduates.

Professor Vincent is also the lead for Phase 3 of the undergraduate curriculum at BSMS and Head of the Medical Education Unit (MEU).

chool media

The BSMS Newsletter is published every term. The new BSMS student newspaper, "The Murmur", is printed termly. The school also offers a large range of SSCs (student selected components), of which some include media and art related topics into the teaching.

Extra-curricular activities

The First ever BSMS Medic Revue took place on Saturday 10th of November in front of a sell-out audience in the Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton. The cast took the sell-out show to the Brighton Fringe Festival on the 13th May 2008, being one of the fastest selling shows in the fringe that year.

Below is the review the show received:

Brighton and Sussex Medical School Revue BSMS Theatre Company

Bringing deadpan and bedpans to the stage, BSMS's show takes the traditional comedy revue and injects it with current and intelligent humour. While the frequent in jokes may please the students in the audience the most, the pacy delivery undercuts any smugness. These docs work hard for their laughs with snappy sketches, video clips and cabaret song numbers taking on the highs, lows and stereotypes of being a medical student. The cast are exceptionally strong and are not afraid of taking on the NHS, the local hospital or even a superbug in their sketches. The Take That surgical finale almost had my sides splitting in laughter - just don't let any of these lot near me to do the stitches.Sallis Benney Theatre, 13 May, 8:00pm, 6.00 (5.00), fringe rating 4/5 [lo]

External links

* [ Brighton and Sussex Medical School Website]
* [ South Downs Health NHS]
* [ Brighton and Sussex Medical School Forum]
* [ Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust Website]


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