The UK's top GP will be visiting a new medical school in Sunderland this week.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard will be in the city on Thursday to take a look around the University of Sunderland's new School of Medicine, which is set to open this year.
Prof Stokes-Lampard is chairman of the Royal College of GPs, which is the UK's largest medical Royal College, representing a network of over 53,000 family doctors dedicated to raising standards of care for patients.
The college sets and runs the intensive three-part examination that all trainee GPs must pass before they can go into general practice.
She will tour the new School of Medicine and meet members of the medical teaching team – including a reunion with fellow GP and Head of the School of Medicine, Professor Scott Wilkes, who she was an academic training fellow with, and the University of Sunderland's Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell.
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 North East.
One of its key aims will be to attract students from the region 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 – and I’m delighted that its work is being led by an accomplished GP.
"Scott and his team have big ambitions and I hope that a large proportion of graduates will choose to go into general practice specialty training and eventually become GPs.
"It’s important that general practice as a profession reflects the communities we work in and the patients we care for, so I’m very impressed with the plans to attract medical students from the local area.
"The Royal College of GPs looks forward to welcoming future generations of family doctors from Sunderland’s medical school in the years to come."
During her visit to the region the professor will also give a keynote speech to the ‘GP Reimagined’ conference in Gosforth.