Call for Magee medical school

A medical school at Magee could help solve Ireland’s junior doctor crisis, Stormont minister Martina Anderson has said.

The Foyle MLA says locating a medical school at Derry’s University of Ulster campus would help address “the increased need for doctors in our hospitals” on both sides of the border.

Earlier this month the British Medical Association in the north warned about the potential impact on services caused by a lack of junior doctors.

David Farren, chairman of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, says at present there is a shortage of around 86 junior doctors.

And he warned that could rise to 120 by February of next year.

‘The bottom line is that there are not enough junior doctors working in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“This needs to be properly tackled to ensure that safe care is delivered to patients in the future.”

Ms Anderson says the lack of doctors - and the practice wherien current junior doctors are compelled to work extra hours - is impinging on services right across Ireland.

“The problem is the same whether in Belfast, Monaghan, Donegal or Derry.

Shortage

“The common denominator seems to be that where the services are either being closed or seriously curtailed is the shortage of Junior Doctors and Consultants.”

She says Sinn Fein have long advocated a medical school in Derry.

“At present only Queen’s in Belfast and Trinity in Dublin offer Medical Training and the limited number of places available cannot hope to cater for the increased need for Doctors in our hospitals

“Our proposal is based on utilising the local hospitals on either side of the border - Altnagelvin and Letterkenny - and recruiting on a 50/50 basis in each jurisdiction, a recognition that health care is best served through integrated planning on an all-Ireland basis.

“Logistically and economically this approach makes sense.”

Ms Anderson says the governments on both sides of the border need to consider the proposals.