City Deal investment clears way for Derry medical school
THE investment of more than £100m in the north west clears the way for the development of a medical school at Ulster University's Magee campus, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.
Secretary of State Karen Bradley has confirmed a £50m City Deal and a £55m “inclusive future fund” for the Derry and Strabane region following a long campaign by political and business leaders.
Civic leaders hope the package will be at least matched by the Northern Ireland Executive and lead to further private investment.
It is to be used for innovation, education and job creation and is expected to lead to further expansion at UU's Magee campus.
In particular, it is hoped to develop a graduate level medical school in the city while also increasing student numbers at UU.
Anne Carson from the BMA said there is a severe shortage of doctors in secondary and primary care and only one medical school, based in Queen's University, Belfast.
"Medical students are more likely to stay and work in the areas in which they trained, yet the shortage of doctors is particularly acute in the west of the country where locum costs are also the highest and GP shortages at their worst."
She added: “However, it should be remembered that key elements of the project will still need a ministerial sign-off which is why it is so important for our politicians to ensure this latest talks process is a success."
Retail NI chief executive, Glyn Roberts said the investment was good news for the economy throughout Northern Ireland, while Tina McKenzie of the Federation of Small Businesses said it was now imperative that devolved government was restored to realise its potential.