MP calls for end to de­lays over north west med­i­cal school plans

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY DONNA DEENEY

A MUCH-de­layed re­port ex­plor­ing the need for a new med­i­cal school in the north west is un­der­stood to be com­plete.

Foyle MP Elisha McCal­lion has urged the De­part­ment of Health to pub­lish the find­ings of the Gar­diner Re­port, which she said is hold­ing up progress on the new med­i­cal school at Ul­ster Uni­ver­sity’s Magee cam­pus.

The re­port is part of a busi­ness plan re­quired by the de­part­ment, and should have been sub­mit­ted in March this year.

Ms McCal­lion said: “It’s my un­der­stand­ing that the Gar­diner Re­port, which looks at the fu­ture needs of med­i­cal pro­vi­sion and doc­tors here in the North, has been com­pleted.

“The find­ings of this re­port are key to mov­ing for­ward the es­tab­lish­ment of a grad­u­ate en­try med­i­cal school and putting the uni­ver­sity’s Magee cam­pus on the map as a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence.

“This is a key el­e­ment to un­lock­ing the city’s unique cir­cum­stances and reach­ing its full po­ten­tial as set out in the Strate­gic Growth Plan, pro­duced by and for the peo­ple of the north west.

“The De­part­ment of Health must now re­lease the find­ings of the Gar­diner Re­port to al­low the med­i­cal school project to move for­ward.”

The Gen­eral Med­i­cal Coun­cil has al­ready lent its sup­port to a med­i­cal school based in the city.

The pro­posed North­ern Ire­land Grad­u­ate En­try Med­i­cal School will se­lect stu­dents who have al­ready com­pleted an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree and pro­vide them with four years of in­ten­sive, prac­ti­cal med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion

It is seen as a so­lu­tion to the Western Trust’s re­cruit­ment woes which has led to a se­ri­ous por­tion of its an­nual bud­get be­ing spent on locum doc­tors.

The med­i­cal school is also ex­pected to help ad­dress the con­tin­u­ing drop in doc­tors go­ing into gen­eral prac­tice in the north west. At present, train­ing of doc­tors in North­ern Ire­land is only avail­able in Belfast.

The De­part­ment of Health hadn’t re­sponded by the time of go­ing to press.

Ap­peal: Foyle MP Elisha McCal­lion

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