Ulster University applies to train doctors in north west

image captionProf McKenna believes a second medical school will "raise standards" across NI

Ulster University (UU) has applied to the General Medical Council (GMC) to train doctors in the north west.

The medical school proposal, which includes a graduate entry focus, is currently being considered by the Department of Health.

Currently, the only medical school in Northern Ireland is at Queen's University in Belfast.

Prof Hugh McKenna, UU Dean of medical school development, said he believed there was 'dire need' for another.

"We have a bit of a crisis on our hands, the doctors we have got are absolutely excellent day and daily but we don't have enough of them," Prof McKenna said.

"We know that at any one time there is 700 young people from Northern Ireland doing medicine from GB but that's people who had to leave Northern Ireland to do medicine.

"It will be graduate entry, which means a four year programme and those who accepted will already have a degree."

'We need it'

In June, the British Medical Association (BMA) said a new graduate medical school in Londonderry must be accessible to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The BMA also suggested an increase in medical training posts to prevent doctors and nurses leaving Northern Ireland after training.

"We want to be cross border so we are having very successful conversations with the University of Galway and Limerick and with the health providers in the north west," said Prof McKenna.

"We're moving towards and outline business case and we are getting lots of support, I believe it can happen and I believe we need it."

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