The four year medical degree will widen access to medical training to address the skills and workforce challenges currently faced by the health care sector needed to improve patient outcomes.
Welcoming the curriculum provision, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University Professor Paddy Nixon said;
“Our agreement with St George’s, University of London is a major step forward in our commitment to addressing the current health crisis by establishing a Graduate Entry Medical School in the North West. Having appointed Professor Louise Dubras as Foundation Dean of the Medical School and built plans for clinical placements across Northern Ireland, we are delighted to have secured this curriculum from St George’s, as we prepare to educate capable, caring, professional future doctors for local healthcare.”
Paul Ratcliffe, Chief Operating Officer at St George’s, University of London, added;
“St George’s has a long history of training doctors, dating back more than 250 years. Our graduate-entry medicine programme was one of the first in the UK and continues to be one of the few programmes that encourage non-science graduates, opening up medicine as a career option to many people. We’re enormously proud of the achievements of graduates from our programme and are delighted to be able to share our expertise and contribute to the next generation of doctors in Northern Ireland.”
Following cross party political and industry wide support in 2016 for Ulster University’s Graduate Entry Medical School, Ulster University has continued to proactively develop the project, planning to accept students from 2019. The Department of Health has now confirmed that any decision on funding can only be made by Ministers and therefore the University is not in a position to recruit students for a 2019 intake.
Professor Paddy Nixon continued;
“Health care provision across Northern Ireland is at breaking point, the impact of which is felt acutely by patients who are having to wait for long periods of time for appointments and operations. The absence of government decision making for Northern Ireland is a source of deep frustration, not only to the patients, potential students and the University, but to the healthcare sector as a whole. In a bid to address the current health crisis and future proof care provision we remain steadfast in our commitment to establishing a Graduate Entry Medical School.
“Earlier this year the UK Health Secretary announced plans to establish five further medical schools in England to deal with the healthcare crisis. England and Wales benefit from graduate entry medical education and proposals have recently been agreed for Scotland. We believe it is critical that Northern Ireland’s health system be provided with the same lifeline and progressive forward planning. This is time lost in educating the doctors we urgently need in our hospitals.
“We continue to work closely with the Department of Health and remain proactive and ready to deliver the Graduate Entry Medical School for Northern Ireland as soon as the political infrastructure resumes and enables those final steps to happen.”
Ulster University also continues to engage with prospective students interested in this unique opportunity to enter into a rewarding career in medicine in Northern Ireland.