Artist's impression of an expanded Magee campus along the river front
Ulster University has provided a breakdown of funding costs for its proposed Medical School in Derry.
It comes amid uncertainty around the project which is viewed as pivotal to expansion of the Magee campus.
Long-running plans suffered a further setback in recent weeks when it emerged that student intake for the 2020 academic year had been ruled out. The revised target is recruitment for 2021.
In its initial phase the Medical School will be based in existing buildings at the Magee campus. Annual running costs of £30m had been quoted by the Department of Health.
Ulster University has provided a breakdown of costs, details that would’ve formed the basis of its business case submitted to the Department of Health.
The university says it will cost £27m per year to train 110 medical students, a third of which goes directly to Health and Social Care Trusts.
An Ulster University spokesperson said: “In its initial phase of implementation the medical school is intended to be delivered within the existing campus estate, alongside current medical and healthcare provision.
“The projected running cost for 110 medical students by 2029/30, when the Graduate Entry Medical School would be fully operational, is £27m per year.
"This is the annual cost to train doctors to completion of their Foundation training.
“Of this, almost £6m is University funding for teaching and appointments and just over £8m is for the Trusts and GP practices whilst the students are at University.
"Just over £12.5m goes directly to the Health and Social Care Trusts for the salaries, essential further training and assessment of just over 200 of our qualified medical graduates once they are Foundation doctors working in hospitals, caring for patients.
“Annual costs for the implementation phase over the first four years of operation are considerably lower.”
Plans for a medical school in Derry have been ongoing for the past fifteen years before truly taking shape in 2016 when its case was submitted to the General Medical Council.
The first cohort of students were due to start training at Magee this year but that target was missed and planned intake for 2020 has now been shelved.
The Department of Health (DoH) is acutely aware of the pressures on the medical workforce across Health and Social Care and its key role in leading the transformation of services set out in Delivering Together.
Accordingly, DoH commissioned a Medical School Places Review, led by Professor Keith Gardiner, to determine the optimum number of medical school places that Northern Ireland requires per year. His report, published on 11 January 2019, raises challenging, long-term, strategic and cross-cutting questions with major financial implications.
Amongst other issues, it recommends expanding medical training places by at least 100 per year, potentially costing up to an additional £30m per year when fully implemented.
This report is a key consideration of the University of Ulster in putting forward its proposal for a medical school in Derry.
It is anticipated around 60 doctors will train in Derry in the school's first year, rising to 110 students per year within its first five years.
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