Confusion over university’s plans for medical school

THE Government’s plan to open a graduate entry medical school was cast in confusion last night amid claims that the University of Limerick had been rejected without a hearing.

A detailed proposal has been drawn up by UL for a graduate entry school of medicine.

Due to a large drop out rate among young doctors, the Government wants to attract mature students with other third level degrees into medicine.

The former Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Diarmuid Scully said education minister Mary Hanafin indicated clearly this week that she has excluded UL when she announced plans to increase medical school places.

He said: “Instead the minister said postgraduate training programmes are to be provided in University College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons. This is a grave blow for Limerick and the entire mid-west.”

However, Professor Paul Finucane who is in charge of the UL medical school plan said the UL proposal was still on course.

He said: “Last February, the Minister for Health, Mary Harney and the Education Minister Mary Hanafin said there would be a competitive tendering process for the graduate entry school of medicine. We have been awaiting for this competitive tendering process to commence as an interested party who would be allowed tender. We intend to put forward a very novel and compelling case.”

Mr Scully said the importance of bringing a graduate entry medical school to the Mid-West has been widely recognised.

He said: “Last year Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council and Clare County Council passed resolutions calling on the minister to support UL. It appears those calls have fallen on deaf ears.”

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