Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD this week officially launched the Donegal Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Letterkenny University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located on the grounds of Letterkenny University Hospital.
This is a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training in Donegal, the final in a series of medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Sligo and Mayo University Hospitals were completed and opened last year.
Speaking at the Launch, Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD said the NUI Galway medical academies provide a practical link between the classroom and the clinic by mixing teaching with practical training. “We know that for our trainee doctors to assimilate into the Irish health system they need a medical school education that prepares them for the practicalities of the day job, so I’m pleased that students in Letterkenny will now have access to a holistic education in one location.”
The new Donegal Medical Academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of tutors and lecturers covering all medical specialties. Up to 60 students per semester from third, fourth and final medical years rotate through Letterkenny University Hospital for one year clinical training.
The co-location of the Academy with the hospital is deliberate as it allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital. One of the strengths of the NUI Galway Medical academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients.
Speaking at the launch of the Donegal Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “The Donegal Medical Academy is the fifth NUI Galway teaching site in the West and North West region. The new academy in Letterkenny will provide better learning outcomes for students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased skilled personnel on wards; and for the hospital it ensures better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff through association with a major University. We know that regional healthcare settings can be quite different to those in cities, so by exposing our students to a variety of healthcare environments we encourage them to embrace the opportunities here, ensuring they can become the local healthcare workforce of the future.”