The Department of Health has said any decision on a Medical School will have to be taken by ministers.
This is one of the findings of Secretary of State, Julian Smith’s report on university provision in Derry, which has been presented to the House of Commons.
The report notes how Professor Keith Gardiner recommended that medical training places in the North should be increased by 100 places a year but that this could potentially cost an additional £30m annually.
“This report is a key consideration of the University of Ulster in putting forward its proposal for a medical school in Derry/Londonderry. While DoH has been assisting UU in the development of its Outline Business Case (OBC) for a Graduate Entry Medical School at Magee Campus, this is separate from any decision on medical student expansion in NI,” according to Mr. Smith’s update.
DoH Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly does not wish to sign off on any medical school due to the considerable cost implications, it states.
“DoH is developing a business case to consider these matters. Given the cross-cutting nature and potential for significant associated costs with the Medical School business case, the DoH Permanent Secretary has advised that any decision on this or other long-term options, must be considered by NI Executive Ministers,” it states.
The report acknowledges Derry City & Strabane District Council is engaging with London to see if the Medical School can form part of its ‘City Deal’ bid.
“The development of the Council’s final bids for a City Deal from the Inclusive Future Fund is still ongoing and as of August 2019, there has been no official final bid submitted for either funding stream to UKG, including no formal bid to provide funding to a Derry/Londonderry medical school.”