Department publishes Report of the Review of Medical School Places in Northern Ireland

Date published: 11 January 2019

The Department of Health has today published the Report of the Review of Medical School Places in Northern Ireland along with the Department’s initial response to the 10 main recommendations made in the Review.

medical school places

Led by Professor Keith Gardiner, Chief Executive and Dean of the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency, the Review was commissioned by the Department of Health to determine the optimum number of medical student places required in Northern Ireland.

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly commented: “I very much welcome this Review which provides a sound evidence base indicating the future level of medical education training that should be commissioned in Northern Ireland.

“The 10 main recommendations set out in this Report are challenging.

“Medical education already involves significant levels of funding. It is vital to maximise the impact on healthcare in Northern Ireland of the very significant investment already being made in undergraduate medical education.”

Mr Pengelly continued: “The expansion in medical student numbers indicated by this Report could cost up to an additional £30m per year – funding which would have to be found by making reductions in other areas of the health service. 

“This Report raises long term, strategic and cross-cutting questions with major financial implications which will require decisions by Ministers. In the meantime, I have today set out the Department’s initial view on the 10 recommendations of this report and indicated the actions that we will progress immediately.”

Actions the Department will progress include;

  • Developing measures to increase the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as a destination of choice for medical training and careers;
  • Increasing the supply of Clinical Academics from the field of General Practice;
  • Working in conjunction with GP Federations to deliver enhanced levels of teaching and training in Primary Care settings;
  • Publicising health and social care career options to young people from the age of 14;
  • Promoting medical careers and seeking to increase the proportion of NI domiciles from under-served areas; and
  • Developing policy options to link bursary support to a minimum “Return on Service” within the HSC.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department commissioned the Review of Medical School Places in 2017 as an action under the HSC Workforce Strategy: Delivering for our People.
  1. The aim of the Review was to determine the optimum number of medical student places that Northern Ireland requires per year to meet the medical component for the delivery of healthcare.
  1. Terms of Reference, including membership of the Review Team, are included within the final report.
  1. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office 028 9052 0575 or email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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