The Medical School at NUI Galway has also established links over many years with Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry and this has resulted in the formation of the western region education network incorporating all hospitals in the West and Northwest.
With the expected permission of the State and the Higher Education Authority, NUI Galway intends to introduce graduate entry from 2006, doubling the number of places in its Medical school. It is the intention of the University that this development will provide places for 50 graduate students and 100 undergraduates annually. Graduate students will have an honours degree and will follow a four-year programme, in place of the six-year programme undergraduate students must complete and the University will continue to admit overseas students.
"Clinical placement is crucial to medical education and while substantive links exist with affiliated hospitals in the Western region, there is potential for significant additional capacity at a clinical level for students in the these hospitals including Letterkenny, Sligo, Roscommon, Portiuncula and Castlebar," says Dr Phillip A Carney, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NUI Galway.
The Faculty encompasses a School of Nursing and a School of Therapies, and it is anticipated that by 2007, it will accommodate over 1,400 students. St. Angela's College, Sligo has recently become a constituent college of NUI Galway and the University is also uniquely placed in that it is the only university within the EU-designated Border, Midlands and West (BMW) area.
Dr Carney said: "NUI Galway and the University of Ulster believe that the provision of suitable doctors for the BMW region as well as the western half of Northern Ireland may best be achieved by expanding medical education opportunities in the locality. It has long been recognised that graduates in any discipline from a particular university are more likely to seek employment in the area where they are educated. A further benefit of a conjoint approach by the two universities to undergraduate medical education will be the development of cross-border research programmes, which will lead to more effective patient care in the region enhancing opportunities for continuing professional development for all professional groups in the Health Services in both institutions".
The University of Ulster's commitment to enhancing the provision and quality of professional healthcare education in the North West was emphasised by Professor Bernie Hannigan, Pro-Vice Chancellor. "We are delighted to work closely with NUI Galway,' said Professor Hannigan. 'Improved medical education will bring many benefits to the standards of care available in the region and will be a new and important focus for economic development. Effective partnerships, both among universities and the health sector across the North West are essential for success."