Interviews underway for first ever Derry Medical School Dean ahead of September 2019 opening

The Ulster University Magee campus, Derry. DER3115MC002
The Ulster University Magee campus, Derry. DER3115MC002

Ulster University has started interviewing for the first ever Dean of a proposed new Medical School in Derry while the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) is 66 per cent of the way through completion of an outline business case (OBC) for the proposed facility.

Momentum for the game-changing new Medical School is building apace in advance of its first planned intake of students in September 2019.

Updating Derry City and Strabane District Council on progress yesterday, Professor Hugh McKenna, Dean of Medical School Development at Ulster University, said interviews for the new Dean took place on Sunday.

He also advised the business case for the project was well on the way towards completion.

“Following submission of Ulster’s Strategic Outline Case, Government Departments tasked the SIB with drafting an OBC for the project,” reported Prof. McKenna

“The OBC is approximately two thirds complete. It will provide a detailed cost of capital and recurrent funding,” he added.

Prof. McKenna also revealed that the university has entered into a formal relationship with St. George’s University in London while the new school awaits full approval from the General Medical Council (GMC).

“A Memorandum of Understanding and Confidentiality Agreement have been signed with St George’s University of London,” he explained.

“These relate to the purchase of their curriculum and to their role as contingency partner, up to the point of Ulster securing full accreditation from the GMC. The contract is currently being considered and due diligence reviews have been initiated by both parties. The Academic Council responsible for SGULs Medical School has approved the partnership. A SGUL/Ulster Steering Board has been established to govern the collaboration and ensure that it is progressing as it should,” he confirmed.

Prof. McKenna explained UU proposes a four-year graduate entry programme with “an annual cohort of 80 students”.

The curriculum will focus on primary care, rural health, population health, gerontology and chronic disease management.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said: “I was delighted to offer the party’s continued support for the expansion of the campus and welcomed the fact that the University of Ulster has already committed £2 million pounds of funding to develop the medical school in the coming years.

“I also recognised that continued expansion was dependent on central government support and reassured them that Sinn Féin would continue to lobby our government and statutory partners to ensure this would be the case.

“In particular we welcomed the fact that the school of nursing was recently ranked in the top 40 nursing campuses in the world .And expressed hope that the additional niche subjects offered by the new medical school would further enhance the reputation of the campus in offering high quality teaching in subjects which are not offered elsewhere.

“I also welcomed the UU’s plans to develop a wide range of niche faculties in subjects as diverse as data analytics, Irish Studies, precision medicine and Intelligence Based systems which will provide the Magee campus with a unique academic offer and opportunity to brand itself to a worldwide audience.

“These proposals bode well for the future of the campus and we look forward to offering our continued support to make sure that the Magee campus is fit for purpose and an economic driver for the city in the coming years.”