Graduates pass their medical exams

THEY took the long way round but almost 50 new doctors have made history as the first to have come through medical school under a new entry method for graduates.

While there have been changes to how school leavers are chosen for places in the country’s medicine degree courses, the Leaving Certificate points needed were still sky high when most of the group who have just qualified were applying for college places.

While just 20 of the 49 graduate entry doctors who received their degrees yesterday from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) are Irish, they came from a diverse rang of academic backgrounds.

John O’Flynn, 26, from Inniscarra, Co Cork, had just completed a chemical engineering degree when he was accepted into the course. “I’ve been studying for eight years straight now, having started in the RCSI the week after I graduated from UCC. But it’s been worth it, and now it’s time to start working and paying back my parents,” he said.

The Irish and EU graduate entrants paid fees of more than €13,000 a year.

Some of his classmates included holders of degrees in maths, science and law. RCSI chief executive Professor Cathal Kelly described their conferring as a pioneering milestone in the college’s leading position in medical education.

An honorary doctorate was conferred on Fr Robert MacCabe, an Irish Carmelite medical missionary who has worked as a doctor in the north Kenya desert region of Lake Turkana for 30 years.

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