The Department of Health has published the Report of the Review of Medical School Places in Northern Ireland along with the Department of Health’s initial response to the 10 main recommendations made in the review.
Led by Professor Keith Gardiner, Chief Executive and Dean of the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency, the review was commissioned by the Department of Health to determine the optimum number of medical student places required in Northern Ireland.
Department of Health Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly, commented, ‘I very much welcome this review which provides a sound evidence base indicating the future level of medical education training that should be commissioned in Northern Ireland.
‘The 10 main recommendations set out in this report are challenging. Medical education already involves significant levels of funding. It is vital to maximise the impact on healthcare in Northern Ireland of the very significant investment already being made in undergraduate medical education.’
Mr Pengelly continued, ‘The expansion in medical student numbers indicated by this report could cost up to an additional £30 million per year – funding which would have to be found by making reductions in other areas of the health service.
‘This report raises long-term, strategic, and cross-cutting questions with major financial implications which will require decisions by ministers. In the meantime, I have today set out the department’s initial view on the 10 recommendations of this report and indicated the actions that we will progress immediately.’
Actions which the department will progress include:
- Developing measures to increase the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as a destination of choice for medical training and careers
- Increasing the supply of clinical academics from the field of general practice
- Working in conjunction with GP federations to deliver enhanced levels of teaching and training in primary care settings
- Publicising health and social care career options to young people from the age of 14
- Promoting medical careers and seeking to increase the proportion of Northern Ireland domiciles from under-served areas