Minister for Health Opens Sligo Medical Academy

Anna Healy, fourth year Medical student; Dean of the Sligo Medical Academy, Dr Geraldine McCarthy; Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar, T.D.; and Henry Economis fourth year medical student at the launch of Sligo Medical Academy.
Feb 15 2016 Posted: 10:01 GMT

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

Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar TD today (12 February 2016) officially launched the Sligo Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Sligo University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located within the premises of Sligo University Hospital.

This is a major investment by NUI Galway into Clinical training in Sligo, one of a series of proposed medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Mayo and Letterkenny University Hospitals have also been developed.

Speaking at the official opening, Minister Varadkar said: “This new Academy is a win-win for medical students, patients, and the north west region. It broadens the training available to medical undergraduates in the region, improves quality of care for patients, and should also help to attract and retain more medical staff in the west and northwest. I congratulate all of those involved in developing the Sligo Medical Academy and look forward to their future plans.”

Medical Education and Clinical Delivery

The new medical academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of 11 part time tutors/lecturers covering all medical specialties. 60 students per semester from 3rd, 4th and final medical years rotate through Sligo 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.

Sligo University Hospital provides our student with excellent exposure to a wide variety of specialities. From January 2016 onwards, the Sligo Medical Academy and Sligo University Hospital 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.

Speaking at the launch of the Sligo 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 Sligo 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 this new Medical Academy in Sligo today.”

Commenting, Gráinne McGann, General Manager of Sligo University Hospital said: “The opening of this Academy is a welcome development here at Sligo University Hospital as it builds on our links with our academic and research partners. 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 further integration of medical education and clinical delivery will support the recruitment and retention of the highest quality medical staff to our hospital and the region”.

Sligo Medical Academy Building

The €2 million euro (700 M2) state of the art facility will include a lecture theatre, clinical skills laboratory, tutorial rooms, mock consultation rooms, tutor offices, and study spaces for the students. The new landmark development will be constructed at levels 7 and 8 above the existing Library.

Dr Geraldine McCarthy, Dean of Medical Education in Sligo added, “Sligo Medical Academy is an exciting development for Undergraduate Medical students in the North West. It is a state of the art facility, with lecture theatre, clinical skills lab and small group teaching rooms for 60 NUI Galway students from 3rd year 4th year and final year. The academy has been running since 2009 with 10 part time Clinical Tutors and it is wonderful to now have a purpose built facility to meet the medical students' training needs. It represents a significant investment by NUI Galway in Sligo University Hospital to train our future doctors”.


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