Responding to the Medical School Places Review report issued today, Dr Tom Black, chair of BMA Northern Ireland Council said,
“The recommendations in this report do not come as a surprise to the profession. We have said for some time now that a long term view needs to be taken when assessing numbers needed within the medical workforce.
“As the report points out, training to become a doctor can take up to 13 years so while we fully support a new medical school in the north west and an increase in training places, that alone will not address our current issues.
“The report points out that we need to do more to attract doctors from other parts of the UK to Northern Ireland. To do that we will need to see services transformed and parity of pay and conditions with doctors working elsewhere in the UK.
“If we are to increase the numbers of young people going into medical school to the recommended 445 we will also have to look at how we widen participation, how do we make sure that any young person, no matter what their background, is encouraged and supported to become a doctor. With a debt level of up to £100,000 on finishing training, many young people will simply decide not to study medicine. [Recommendation 4]
“The idea of a bursary [recommendation six] would need to be explored; while it seems a good idea on paper the timing of the four years service and the potential for it to be split into sections should be examined. Working abroad, even for a short period of time, can greatly enhance a doctors skills; but we must make sure they want to come back to Northern Ireland to work and develop their long-term career.
“The current political stalemate is a huge barrier to progressing change in our health system; doctors and patients need the transformation programme to be fully implemented and we need a health minister in place as soon as possible
For further information please contact:
BMA Northern Ireland, 16 Cromac Place, Cromac Wood, Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 2JB
028 9026 9666 (switchboard)
028 9026 9672 (direct line)
074 0880 9519 (mobile / out of hours)
Email: [email protected]
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