Belfast Telegraph

Funding for medical school ‘will help address massive staffing gaps’ – doctors

A growing and increasingly elderly population with more complex health needs poses challenges requiring more medics in Northern Ireland, the BMA said.

Tom Black, chair of the BMA’s Northern Ireland Council, said an extra 400 medical students a year graduating in Northern Ireland were needed (BMA Northern Ireland/PA)
Tom Black, chair of the BMA’s Northern Ireland Council, said an extra 400 medical students a year graduating in Northern Ireland were needed (BMA Northern Ireland/PA)

By Michael McHugh, PA

Funding for a medical school at Ulster University will help fill massive staffing gaps in general practice, doctors said.

A growing and increasingly elderly population with more complex health needs poses challenges which require more medics in Northern Ireland, the BMA said.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has announced £60 million in ring-fenced money for a graduate entry medical school at the university’s Magee campus in Londonderry as part of the powersharing deal.

Tom Black, chair of the BMA’s Northern Ireland Council, said: “We need approximately 400 extra medical students a year graduating in Northern Ireland, who will then go on to work as doctors here who can treat this growing patient need.

“Currently we only have approximately 230 graduating from Queen’s University’s medical school each year.

“The emphasis in this medical school will be on general practice, and it is well known that we have massive staffing gaps in this area across Northern Ireland, particularly in the west of the country.”

Northern Ireland needs GPs working in local communities and medical students are more likely to stay and work in the areas in which they study, the BMA added.

Dr Black said: “So a medical school based in the North West will help address the medical workforce issues we have on this side of Northern Ireland.”

PA

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