The country's top GP was stunned by the new medical school at the University of Sunderland.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, which represents more than 53,000 family doctors, came to the city to take a look around the School of Medicine and meet its team dedicated to training the next generation of doctors.
The school will officially open in September to the first cohort of students.
Prof Stokes-Lampard said: "The medical set up here is stunning, there has been a huge amount of thought and research gone into designing and planning a really exciting and innovative medical school.
"I have no doubt that the new intake of students are going to receive a phenomenal standard of education by dedicated and enthusiastic teachers.
"The future for the wider health and medical training in Sunderland is going to benefit hugely by what’s going on here now. The vision of those who have the courage to take this initiative forward is to be applauded."
As well as meeting the university's Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell and Professor Tony Alabaster, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, Prof Stokes-Lampard was also reunited with fellow GP and the new Head of the School of Medicine, Professor Scott Wilkes, who she trained with in the past.
Prof Wilkes said: "It was an absolute privilege to host Helen during her visit to the North East. She is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational GP leaders I have ever met.
"As a practising GP herself she can truly empathise with the stresses faced by our GP workforce and the needs of the NHS."
Prof Stokes-Lampard’s RCGP team will be visiting Sundeland next month to help establish a GP society for some of the new medical students.
Sir David Bell, said: "We were honoured to have someone of Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard’s standing visiting the university. Welcoming the chairman of the Royal College of GPs to Sunderland is a major coup."
Sunderland is one of only five new medical schools in the UK and is being established to address a regional imbalance of medical education places – and ultimately provide a solution to the shortage of doctors in the region.
One of the key aims is to attract students from the area with the right skills and talents to become doctors but who might not otherwise consider studying medicine.
Prof Stokes-Lampard said: "The opening of the new medical school is fantastic news for Sunderland, its patients, and the future NHS.
"The Royal College of GPs looks forward to welcoming future generations of family doctors from Sunderland’s medical school in the years to come."