18 Aug 2022

Dean of Medical School Development at Magee tells Council "I'm convinced it can happen"

The Dean of Medical Development at Magee told council this evening that "together we can take this over the line".
In a deputation to City and Strabane District Council's Strategic Planning Committee Professor Hugh McKenna said he was "convinced" the medical school "could happen".
Professor McKenna and Magee Provost, Dr Malachy O'Neill, were asked to speak address the meeting after concerns were raised recently by SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner that a rival bid could be in the offing from Queens University Belfast.
Professor McKenna told the meeting there was an eight stage process to establishing a Graduate Entry Medical School and the Magee bid was currently at stage four.
"The GMC is keen for us to start in 2019 and if there was a magic money tree, I can tell you, we would start in September 2019," he commented.
However, he said if the funding 'doesn't appear' this will slip to 2020.
“Together we can take this over the line. I’m convinced this can happen,” added Professor McKenna.
Dr O'Neill told the meeting he recognised the Medical School would act as an economic catalyst not just for Derry city but the entire North West region.
He reassured Councillors Magee was 'steadfast in its commitment' to the Medical School which he described as its 'number one project'.
"If there is anything else we can do to make this happen we would love to hear it," he said.
SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner pressed  Professor McKenna and Dr O'Neill  on where the new medical school would be and was told it would initially be located in the current Magee campus.
Professor McKenna said there was 'a preferred campus in this city close to council offices', but did not specify where.
Dr O'Neill added: "We are absolutely clear what our preferred number one option is and it makes sense in terms of university expansion."
Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Cooper said the Medical School was vital for the economic future of both Derry and Magee.
"We're not talking about the Medical School in isolation," he commented.
"It's a building block to expand."
Commitee chairperson, SDLP Councilor Gus Hastings added: "If the system was working at this present time then we wouldn't have a dearth of doctors, not just in this city, but in the North West."

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