IBEC backs calls for UL school of medicine

BUSINESS leaders in the Mid-West last night joined the call for a school of medicine at the University of Limerick (UL) amid claims the project was being undermined by “medical politics”.

UL has drawn up a major plan to have a graduate-only school of medicine.

However, a report commissioned by former Health Minister Micheál Martin and former Education Minister Noel Dempsey, which was leaked last week, said an increase in doctor numbers could be achieved by developing existing schools of medicine.

The report group was chaired by the former head of NUI Galway, Prof Patrick Fottrell.

IBEC Mid-West has now pledged its support for the UL school of medicine.

IBEC Mid-West president Damien Clancy said: “Ireland has an urgent national requirement for additional medical doctors. The University of Limerick must be part of the solution as the traditional model of medical training in Ireland’s existing medical faculties is no longer adequate.

“The Government has to embrace innovative solutions if our health service is to meet the needs of everyone in the community.”

Mr Clancy said UL has submitted a strategy to the Departments of Education and Health.

Mr Clancy said: “UL has already demonstrated its ability to introduce and deliver academic programmes such as physiotherapy, nursing, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

“This outstanding record of accomplishment further encourages strong support for the postgraduate medical school proposal.”

He said much of the infrastructure is available through the regional hospital and UL’s facilities.

Mr Clancy said UL has presented a strong case for investment, which will be a major boost to the region.

He said: “A medical school in UL will act as a catalyst for development of the Mid-West by positioning the region to attract new investment.”

Last week, former Health Minister and Fine Gael TD Michael Noonan criticised the findings of the Fottrell reports, saying to exclude UL “smacked of medical politics”.

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