Health Service Approaching Medical Student Funding Crisis

Areas of Northern Ireland's health service could face cuts of £30m a year to meet the demand for medical students, the Department has warned.

It follows the publication of a review into medical school places in Northern Ireland, which found that at least 100 more students are needed each year to meet the growing demand for doctors.

Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly, said that such a recruitment drive could cost up to £30m "which would have to be found by making reductions in other areas of the health service".

He added that the report raised "long term, strategic and cross-cutting questions with major financial implications which will require decisions by ministers".

Secretary of State Karen Bradley introduced the NI Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Act to allow senior civil servants to make decisions in the absence of Ministers.
News Image
A new medical school at Londonderry's Ulster University Magee campus had been scheduled to open in 2019. The lack of available funding has put the project's future in doubt.

SDLP councillor Sinead McLaughlin called for clarity on whether or not the project can be approved in the absence of devolved government.

She said: "The medical school has experienced delay after delay and if the business case does not move forward and receive approval by the end of May, the project will be delayed for a further twelve months. This means that students would not be able to commence their studies on the Magee Campus before October 2021, despite expectations that the first intake would take place this September, 2019.

"It is not clear at this stage if approval can be given in the absence of a sitting Executive; if this is the case, then the City is once again being failed by dysfunctional politicals.  

"I proposed that we write to the Permanent Secretary for the Department for the Economy to ask the Department to proceed with urgency to get approval for the medical school within the next four months. Time is of the essence and it is imperative that this project does not get knocked back into the long grass again."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 October 2008
'Get The Flu Jab' Stresses Ulster's Top Doc
Northern Ireland's top doctor has urged the most vulnerable in society to get vaccinated against the flu this winter. The Chief Medical Officer's advice comes after it was revealed health authorities have stockpiled thousands of drugs to protect those "at risk".
28 February 2018
Sinn Fein Hits Out At DUP Over Irish Medium School Claims
Sinn Fein has hit out at DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson after he claimed Irish medium schools cost five times more than other schools. MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said his claims were "outrageous" and called on him to visit an Irish medium school to "educate himself on facts".
22 September 2004
Queen's open new £4.3m research institute
A £4.3 million research institute which will help develop advanced medical plastics has been officially opened at Queen's University today.
08 November 2005
Queen's to expand medical school facilities
Health Minister Shaun Woodward has announced a major expansion of the Medical School at Queen's University following an uptake of medical student places at Queen's University. The number of student places for medicine at Queen's rose by around a third to 250 in September. On top of this, a £7.
01 February 2002
Queen's University Belfast to receive two of USA's finest
Two American students are to arrive at Queens this autumn to start a year of postgraduate study as part of the George J Mitchell scholarship programme, which seeks to reward outstanding academic achievement. The Mitchell Scholarships were launched in 1998 with the support of the government of Ireland.
02 March 2018
Schools Closures Across NI
The Department of Education have published a list of all schools across that have confirmed they will be closed today, Friday 2nd March, 2018 due to the adverse weather conditions.
22 January 2013
Heavy Snow Closes Over 80 Schools
Over 80 schools across Northern Ireland have been closed as the heavy snow continues to cause disruption on Tuesday morning. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning, as the snow is continuing to affect many roads. Areas which have been majorly disrupted include Lisburn, Castlereagh and Carryduff.
04 January 2012
Recognition For First APM Register Project Professionals
The Association for Project Management (APM) has recognised the first Northern Ireland recipients of its new APM Registered Project Professional (RPP) designation.
08 November 2018
Disappointment Over Delay To New Medical School In L'Derry
Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion has described the announcement that the new medical school in L'Derry will not open next year as "hugely disappointing". It comes a month after it was revealed the development of the campus would be put on hold due to there being no minister in place at the Department of Health to sign off the project.
09 December 2011
Improve Public Health, Says UUP
A critical report from NI's most senior medic has received political backing with news that the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Health spokesman, John McCallister has called for harder work to improve the health of the public.
02 June 2011
Republic's Driver Breath Testing Begins
A major new road safety measure has now come into force for mandatory breath testing in the Irish Republic. Gardaí will now be required to conduct a preliminary breath test where they believe a driver has consumed alcohol, or at the scene of a crash where someone has been injured and requires medical attention.
01 June 2011
Ford Courts Changes In Murder Laws
The Stormont Justice Minister David Ford has begun the introduction of pivotal changes to the law on murder to provide enhanced defences in domestic violence cases.
09 February 2011
Coast Guard Flies Into Paramedic Status
Medical standards provided by the Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Service have reached full Paramedic Level. The Republic's Transport Minister Pat Carey has confirmed that the standard has been upgraded from Emergency Medical Technician Level - well over a year ahead of schedule.
26 April 2010
Swine Flu Spending 'Unjustified'
The money spent on combating swine flu in NI is difficult to justify, according to a leading medical professional.
17 December 2009
Shock Reminder Of Deadly Flu Virus
Although GP consultation rates for flu or flu-like symptoms continued their decrease - being down by 19% in the past week - there's been a shocking reminder of the possible deadly consequences of catching swine flu.