Irish government could pay for medics to study in NI

Republic of Ireland students could be subsidised to study medicine at Northern Ireland universities in exchange for returning to work south of the border.

Irish Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said he intends for the scheme to be in place from September.

Students would pay the yearly €3,000 (£2,590) fee charged in the Republic with the Irish government covering the rest.

Tuition fees in Northern Ireland are £4,750 per year.

The Irish Independent reported, external that students will receive the subsidy on the condition that they commit to working for Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) for a period after graduating.

It added that Mr Harris’ department officials will meet counterparts in Northern Ireland later in January to finalise arrangements.

He said a crucial reason for the move was that the Republic of Ireland was not training enough doctors to meet demand.

“The idea behind this is very simple, we need to use every educational resource available on the island of Ireland to help meet the skills needs of the people on this island and there is probably no more important area than healthcare,” Mr Harris said.

He added that this was evident from ongoing schemes which sees Irish students go north to study.

Since last September, 80 additional places in related health disciplines were made available at Ulster University to students from the Republic.

Ireland’s Department of Health is separately funding 140 nursing students in both Queens University Belfast and Ulster University.

Mr Harris said the number of places to be subsidised had been decided yet.

The Irish Independent reported that about 40% of medics working in the Republic are from overseas and a large proportion of student medics, who often do not stay in the country to work, are also from abroad.

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