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

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Appeal: Foyle MP Elisha McCallion

Appeal: Foyle MP Elisha McCallion

Appeal: Foyle MP Elisha McCallion

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.

Belfast Telegraph