An Taoiseach Launches Mayo Medical Academy

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, with John Killeen, Chairman, Saolta board; Charlie Meehan, General Manager, Mayo University Hospital; Maurice Power, CEO of Saolta; NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne; Professor Kevin Barry, Dean of The Mayo Medical Academy; and Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science.
Dec 14 2015 Posted: 15:00 GMT

Academy integrates medical education with clinical delivery for medical doctors of the future 

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD today (14 December 2015) officially launched the Mayo Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Mayo University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located in the former chapel on the grounds of Mayo University Hospital.

This is a major investment by NUI Galway into Clinical training in Mayo, one of a series of proposed medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals is almost completed and they will be opened early in the New Year.

Speaking at the Launch, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “ I welcome this investment into clinical training facilities for medical students at Mayo University Hospital. This is a tremendous contribution to medical education and research in the west of Ireland. The ongoing development of the Medical Academies by NUI Galway and Saolta Health Group is an important strategic investment in the North-West region. The Mayo Medical Academy will support university medical education at Mayo University Hospital and thereby enhance its reputation and significantly benefit the local knowledge economy.”

Medical Education and Clinical Delivery

The new Mayo 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. 60 students per semester from third, fourth and final medical years rotate through Mayo 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 School Academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients.

Speaking at the launch of the Mayo Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “As well as being enormously important for the clinical education of our students, the real benefit of this partnership is to the health system across our region. Our relationship with Saolta University Health Care Group through the Mayo Medical Academy brings a range of tangible benefits: including better learning outcomes for medical students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased personnel on wards; and better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff in hospitals across the region through association with the University. Many people and organisations have given their energy to see this project come to fruition and NUI Galway is very pleased to be opening the first of its new Medical Academies in Mayo today.”

Mayo General provides students with excellent exposure to a wide variety of specialities. From January 2016 onwards, the Mayo Medical Academy and Mayo General will also be welcoming student as part of the School’s new Junior Internship programme called iJuMP (Intern Junior Mentoring Programme). The School of Medicine promotes the development of its graduates to a level of excellence in preparedness for clinical practice, allowing them to function as a competent doctor in a changing, complex and demanding working environment. Final year medical students will from January be working on the wards as part of a team and functioning as junior interns. They will be supported by supervising consultants and will work closely with current interns to learn everything about the clinical environment first hand.

The medical curriculum at NUI Galway is a five-year programme with an annual intake of approximately 180 students.  The curriculum is innovative and integrates the life sciences with clinical practice, provides for early patient exposure, immersion in a variety of clinical environments and, from the 2015/16 academic year onwards, will also be emphasizing intern preparedness to a greater extent.

Commenting, Professor Kevin Barry, Consultant Surgeon and Dean of the Medical Education said, “Mayo University Hospital has always had very close links with third level institutions, particularly NUI Galway and GMIT.   The development of the Academy means that Mayo University Hospital will become part of an officially recognised teaching network. Providing students with a positive and rich experience within our acute hospitals will enable Mayo University Hospital and the wider Saolta Group, attract and retain first-class consultant and non-consultant hospital doctors.”

Mayo Medical Academy Building

Mayo Medical Academy is housed within the boundaries of a previous Catholic Church. The original structure was built at a cost of £3,400 in the early 20th century and was used for religious purposes during the period 1902 to 2010. This building, which is strategically located across from the main public entrance to Mayo University Hospital, has been sensitively restored into a multipurpose teaching facility, which is destined to become the subject of much favourable architectural comment in the future.

As the original building was subject to a historic preservation order, all aspects of the church were carefully retained during the heritage restoration project which began in February of this year and was completed one-week ago. The design team consisted of Taylor Architects, Castlebar, Co. Mayo and the work was undertaken by the local construction firm of Mountain View Securities. The entire project was funded by NUI Galway at a cost in the region of €2.2 million. The final result comprises a stunning and innovative architectural design, combining the best of old and new. The building encompasses many features that facilitate a flexible approach to teaching and the various spaces within the building are designed to accommodate different student group sizes simultaneously.

Emphasis is placed on Internet and WiFi connectivity within the building, including various teleconferencing links to NUI Galway. A lecture theatre, clinical skills space and student reading room comprise some of the many attractive features of the Mayo Medical Academy. Students will have 24-hour access to facilities on the ground floor, enabling easy transfer from the hospital to a more personal learning environment.

Charlie Meehan, General Manager Mayo University Hospital added, “The development of a teaching academy at Mayo University Hospital comes at a critical time in the development of our health services nationally. This facility will enhance the hospital’s reputation and contribute over time to even higher standards of patient care in all of our clinical departments. The vision of the Academy is to integrate medical education with clinical delivery and develop an ecosystem that positions the hospital as a progressive facility that delivers the highest quality patient care together with excellent medical training and research.”   


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