With support from the Executive, ring-fenced funding was announced last month, combined with the GMC’s recent review of the University's state of readiness, enables Ulster University to recruit staff and students for a September 2021 opening. Ulster University’s School of Medicine will select students who have already completed an undergraduate degree and provide them with four years of innovative, intensive, practical medical education. The School will offer a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) medical degree programme that is unique in Northern Ireland.
In 2018, The Department of Health commissioned a Review of Medical School Places which recommended that Northern Ireland needs 100 more medical students a year to meet the increasing demand for doctors. Currently, approximately 40% of medical graduates in Northern Ireland tend to stay and live within 10 miles of Queen’s University Belfast after graduation, according to the GMC. The new School of Medicine at Magee will address departmental recommendations by providing access to medical education in the North West, positioning the Derry~Londonderry City region as an attractive place to study and work. It further builds on Ulster University’s capacity to deliver life-changing education and research, supporting the health and well-being agenda in Northern Ireland.
Students will benefit from access to clinical placements across the full range of general practice, medical and surgical specialities with primary care-based experience from week one. This will enable students to develop knowledge and appreciation of the interconnectivity between primary, secondary, social and community-based healthcare.
Foundation Dean of the School of Medicine, Professor Louise Dubras who will lead the Gradate Entry degree programme commented:
“As a GP working in the city myself, I am continually reflecting on the role of the doctor and the doctor-patient journey. COVID-19 has emphasised that a career as a doctor requires a commitment to lifelong learning and adapting to life’s modern challenges.
The MBBS programme at Ulster’s School of Medicine will provide students with the professional skills, knowledge and relevant clinical experience necessary to be a twenty first century doctor. Working closely with our partner medical School St George’s University of London and alongside globally acclaimed visiting professors, our medical provision, rooted in the heart of Derry-Londonderry on our Magee campus, will provide the much-needed doctors required for the North West.
The School of Medicine on our Magee campus will attract students to study, work and live in the North West and will be a catalyst in the innovation corridor to be established as part of the City Deal. We look forward to taking the next steps and to welcoming our first medical students ready to embark upon such a rewarding and vital career path with us.
The Graduate Entry programme offered at Ulster’s School of Medicine is open to anyone with a minimum of a 2:1 honours degree in any subject: Applicants are required to sit the GAMSAT entrance exam in September 2020 or March 2021 at the location most convenient for them, with the Magee campus recently added as a test centre on the island of Ireland. Those successful in the GAMSAT will be invited to Multiple Mini interviews which have to be passed, along with an Enhanced Disclosure from Access NI or other relevant authority before offers can be made. The University will work with key partners to establish a scholarship fund to support students, details will be announced early next year.
The University has already received hundreds of enquiries from the North West, across the island of Ireland and the UK who are keen to find out more about the School of Medicine and the MBBS Medicine programme of study.
For more information visit www.ulster.ac.uk/medicine
All new medical school applications must complete a GMC multi-stage approval process. Now that this milestone has been passed, work will continue with an ongoing programme of checks and visits over the coming months and years to make sure that the medical school remains satisfactory and passes all GMC quality assurance requirements. Once all of these stages have been completed, and subject to the approval of GMC Council, the school will be added to the list of institutions able to award its own primary medical qualifications in 2025.