King's College London GKT School of Medical Education

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King's College London GKT School of Medical Education
Type Medical school
Established 1173 (St Thomas's hospital as 'teaching hospital')
1550 (St Thomas's Hospital Medical School)
1909 (King's College Hospital Medical School)
1982 (United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals)
1998 (Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine)
2005 (King's College London School of Medicine)
2015 (King’s College London GKT School of Medical Education )
Dean Professor Stuart Carney
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 2200[1]
Location London, England
Campus Guy's Campus
Colours Navy blue, Gold, Purple, White, Red
Affiliations King's College London, University of London

King's College London GKT School of Medical Education (abbreviated: GKT) is the medical school of King's College London and one of the United Hospitals. It is the biggest healthcare training facility in Europe.[2] The school has campuses at three institutions, Guy's Hospital (Southwark), King's College Hospital (Lambeth) and St Thomas' Hospital (Lambeth) in London. The school in its current guise was formed following a merger with the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals (GKT) on 1 August 1998.[3]

The medical school as a whole is the largest in Europe. It has an annual intake of around 335 places on the standard MBBS Programme, 50 places on the Extended Medical Degree Programme (EMDP)[4] and 28 places on the Graduate / Professional Entry Programme (GPEP).[5] It receives more applications for medicine than any other UK medical school and as of 2007 applicants were required to sit the UKCAT admission test. The school is ranked 8th in the world by Times Higher Education World University Rankings (Clinical, Pre-clinical and Health) 2015-2016.[6] The school is ranked 21st in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2016.[7]


The School was named the GKT School of Medicine between 1998 and 2005. However, due to confusion over the official name of the institute, especially with regards to research emerging from the university, it was rebranded as the King's College London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals.

In 2015, to reflect the strong history of the multiple institutions that comprise the medical school, the School once again rebranded as the King’s College London GKT School of Medical Education.[1]


Owing to St Thomas's Medical School roots that could be traced to St Mary Overie Priory, students' graduation are held at the now Southwark Cathedral[8]
1820 Engraving of Guy's campus entrance by James Elmes and William Woolnoth
The Colonnade, Guy's Campus

The hospitals associated with King's College London GKT School of Medical Education, i.e., Guy's Hospital, King's College Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital (hence the GKT name and abbreviation), are: "amongst the oldest hospitals in the world, having endured the Black Death, the plague, the War of the Roses, the Great Fire of London, the Blitz and over 60 years of NHS reforms."[9]

Of the three hospitals, St Thomas' Hospital is the oldest and was founded in 1173 but whose roots can be traced to the establishment of St Mary Overie Priory in 1106.[10][11][12] Sir Thomas Guy, a governor of St Thomas', founded Guy's Hospital in 1721 as a place to treat 'incurables' discharged from St Thomas'.[13]

St Thomas's Hospital Medical School was founded in 1550 and was sited across St Thomas' Hospital and Guy's Hospital. In 1769 it was decided that Guy's would teach mainly medical subjects, whereas St Thomas' would focus on surgery[14] and the joint teaching institution was generally known as The Borough Hospitals. However, a dispute between the two hospitals regarding the successor to Sir Astley Cooper resulted in Guy's Hospital establishing its own medical school in 1825. After this, students of surgeons attended operations at both hospitals until 1836. A riot between students of the two hospitals broke out in the operating theatre at St. Thomas's in 1836 which ended the arrangement.[15] St Thomas's Hospital Medical School and Guy's Hospital Medical School were two of the oldest and most prestigious medical schools in the UK.

A medical student at Guy's medical school in 1946

In 1982 the two medical schools decided to merge and formed the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, more commonly known as UMDS. It was enlarged in 1983 when the Royal Dental Hospital of London School of Dental Surgery merged with Guy's Hospital Dental School, and again in 1985 with the addition of the Postgraduate Institute of Dermatology.[16]

Initially students of UMDS were allocated to one of the two campuses, with most preclinical teaching and all clinical teaching being separate. With the intake of 1989, students ceased being allocated in this way, and teaching for all students was divided between the campuses and their peripheral hospitals.

Discussions between King's College London (which had trained medical students since it was established and founded its own hospital, King's College Hospital, in 1840) and UMDS regarding a further merger began in 1992. UMDS was subsequently absorbed into King's College London on 1 August 1998,[3] forming the Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, more commonly known as GKT.[17] In 2005, the entity was rebranded King's College London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals, also known as KCLMS. However it is still widely known as GKT amongst current students, graduates and consultants who consider themselves affiliated to the hospitals rather than the university.

In 2005 the dental school became the Dental Institute and the remainder was renamed the King's College School of Medicine. The dean, Robert Lechler, oversees the running of both the Medical and Dental schools, as well as the School of Biomedical Sciences (all three were formerly regarded as GKT before the rebranding).

Before the start of the 2010/11 academic year, Physiotherapy became a part of the School of Medicine, having previously been run by the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences.


Henriette Raphael House, Guy's Campus

The School's research excellence is recognised worldwide and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise confirmed King's as one of the top two universities in the UK for health research strength. Around 70 percent of health science submissions from King's were ranked in the top six within the UK.

Currently, the School hosts six MRC Centres,[18]

  • MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma
  • MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology
  • MRC Centre for Neurodegenerative Research
  • MRC Centre for Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry
  • MRC Centre for Transplantation
  • MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health (awarded in 2009[19] in collaboration with Imperial College London)

The two MRC Centres in Transplantation and the Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma in 2008 alone were awarded 'Centre of Excellence' status by the British Heart Foundation with funding of £9 million and a £4 million Breakthrough Breast Cancer Unit was opened in 2009.[20]

The School is also host to its own 'Centre of Medical Law and Ethics', the first of its kind in the UK,[21] and in March 2009, the school was accredited as an Academic health science centre, one of only five in the UK.[22]

Sports teams[edit]

Like other medical schools in the UK, GKT has its own sports teams which compete in various student sports leagues and tournaments.

Like most other universities in London GKT sports teams take part in the BUCS leagues and cups and the University of London Union leagues and cups. The GKT teams also take part in the United Hospitals Cup, which is a sporting competition played between the medical, dental and veterinary schools of London in all sports. The two most popular and biggest of the competitions include the United Hospitals Bumps (rowing) and the men's rugby.

GKT has a fierce sporting rivalry with King's College London. This rivalry led to the founding of the Macadam Cup in 2004, which pits GKT and KCL sports teams against each other.

Notable alumni, academics and staff[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 55085. p. 3780. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Medicine Graduate/Professional Entry Programme". 
  6. ^ "Subject Ranking 2015-2016: clinical, pre-clinical and health top 100". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 2016-01-09. 
  7. ^ "Rankings". Complete University Guide. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Venue Information". 
  9. ^ "A history of Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas’ hospitals from 1649 to 2009: 360 Years of innovation in science and surgery". International Journal of Surgery 9: 414–427. 2011. doi:10.1016/j.ijsu.2011.04.002. 
  10. ^ "The Foundation of St Thomas's" (PDF). p. 1. 
  11. ^ "A Chronology of State Medicine, Public Health, Welfare and Related Services in Britain 1066-1999" (PDF). p. 11. 
  12. ^ "Our history". 
  13. ^ "Guy's Hopital Medical School:Records". 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Aleph main menu". 
  16. ^ "Aleph main menu". 
  17. ^ "St Thomas's Hospital Medical School Records". Archives in London and the M25 area (AIM25).  External link in |publisher= (help)
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "King's College London - Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine". 
  21. ^ "King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law". 
  22. ^ KCL Medical Prospectus 2010

External links[edit]