A graduate entry medical school facility (GEMF) at the University of Limerick (UL) was officially opened by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly during a recent visit to South Tipperary General Hospital (STGH) in Clonmel.
The new GEMF enables students to participate in lectures with study space and video conferencing facilities to link Clonmel-based students with colleagues at other sites, including St Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow-Kilkenny.
The STGH is one of five affiliated teaching sites as part of the UL medical school. It provides teaching and education space for medical students on placement. Clinical teaching during third and fourth year of the UL programme requires students to be placed in a variety of hospital and community clinical settings.
There are currently eight UL students based at STGH but this number is expected to increase, with a further 12 students undertaking their clinical training in general practice in the South Tipperary area.
At the official opening, Prof Stewart Walsh, Associate Professor of Surgery, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, GEMF and HSE, Mid-Western Hospitals Group, said: “Today’s official opening by the new Minister in Clonmel is an exciting development for Irish medicine, a milestone for UL and a significant event for STGH. Indeed, a survey of all UL medical students, undertaken in December 2010, showed that the educational environment in Clonmel received the highest ratings of all clinical sites.”
Mr Peter Murchan, Consultant Surgeon and Medical Board member, STGH, explained that South Tipperary General had 217 inpatient and 25 day care beds, in addition to 25 emergency treatment and two special labour ward beds, some 722 whole time equivalent posts and a wide range of acute medical services.
“We are a candidate site for the National Colorectal Cancer Screening Service beginning this year and an accredited site for colposcopy services under the National Cervical Screening Programme since 2009,” he added.