Plans submitted for anatomy teaching facility to train the next generation of medics at the University of Sunderland

Plans for a new facility helping to train the next generation of medical professionals have officially been lodged.

Artistic impression of the facility
Artistic impression of the facility

The proposed hub will be based to the north of the University of Sunderland’s Science Complex at the City Campus.

Plans were verified by Sunderland City Council’s planning department earlier this week.

If approved, the centre will provide a state-of-the-art anatomy teaching resource for the university’s medical school.

The building is sidelined for the former site of the ‘Darwin annex’ – a cluster of buildings which have since been removed.

Dry anatomy facilities, currently located within the Dale building, would be relocated to the new site to provide a new integrated teaching facility.

This would include a flexible learning space for 30 students using both physical and digital anatomical models.

A ‘wet anatomy’ room would also provide teaching for up to 60 students where specimens would be dissected.

A planning statement outlines the benefits of the scheme, including bringing a vacant site back into use, job opportunities and providing an “enhanced offering” for students.

The statement reads: “The proposed development would develop and enhance the current offering at the University’s School of Medicine, enabling it to compete with other universities in the north, such as Newcastle, who currently offer this facility as part of their relevant teaching programmes.

“The proposed development would offer medical students an outstanding environment for hands-on anatomical education, ensuring they graduate with the specialised skills required to make a meaningful change to the health of people in the north east region.

“For surgical training, cadaveric anatomy is viewed as the gold standard.

“Simulation cannot reproduce the variability and complexity of the human body; that said, modern simulation equipment is seen as a highly effective learning and teaching tool.

“The proposed development would offer both methods, it is this blended approach that will be of the greatest benefit to students and place the University of Sunderland School of Medicine as one offering the latest and most effective teaching methods.”

It would be licensed by the Human Tissue Authority with a new access created for private ambulances.

Surgeons and surgical trainees across the region are also expected to benefit from ‘continual professional development’ (CPD) courses at the centre.

The planning statement goes on to say: “Provision of CPD for surgeons would enhance the university and city’s reputation, and also have a positive impact within the region by providing opportunities to establish centres of excellence in surgical training.”

A final decision on the plans is expected by the end of November following consultation.

Comments can be made by writing to the council’s planning department or visiting its online planning portal.

For more information, visit and search planning reference: 20/01727/FUL

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