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Increase in education for Veterinary, Pharmacy and Nursing

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ATU welcomes proposed increase in education for Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and General Nursing


The President of Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Dr Orla Flynn, welcomes the confirmation  by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD, that a number of options to expand third level places for healthcare and veterinary medicine are being considered.

The options include potential for a new programme of Veterinary Medicine to be delivered from ATU Donegal in conjunction with ATU Mountbellew, a potential new Pharmacy programme in ATU Sligo, and additional General Nursing places in ATU Mayo, ATU Donegal and St Angela’s College Sligo pending Government funding.

The potential programme in Veterinary Medicine would complement current offerings in Veterinary Nursing and Agriculture in the Donegal campus and Agriculture provision in the Mountbellew (Co Galway) campus. 

The potential Pharmacy degree programme would complement the current offerings in ATU Schools and Faculties of Science and Health across the multicampus university.
These programmes could commence delivery in the academic year 2025/26, pending Government funding.

The potential additional General Nursing places would represent a significant expansion of current programme provision to address the shortfall in the number of qualified graduates in the Nursing profession. These places could become available for the academic year 2024/5, pending Government funding.

Today’s news follows options outlined in a new DFHERIS-commissioned Higher Education Authority (HEA) report which states a significant expansion in healthcare and veterinary medicine training would result in an increase of an estimated 5,000 new third-level enrolments across Veterinary, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing.

ATU President Dr Orla Flynn welcomes today’s announcement: “I am naturally delighted with today’s news – it is a strong signal of confidence in ATU’s capability and capacity to deliver these programmes. Our ability to respond to this call as one university has led to this success – we now need to make sure that we deliver on this potential for our region. I also want to salute our teams across ATU who have worked on these bids, their efforts have been rewarded today.”

Dr Jeremy Bird, Head of School of Science, ATU Sligo, welcomed the HEA report: “The news today is welcome.  ATU’s in-depth expertise in Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Sciences provided a convincing submission to the HEA and I am delighted that students will potentially be able to avail of an M.Pharm. Pharmacy Programme in our region”.

Dr Joanne Gallagher, Head of Faculty of Science and Health, ATU Donegal, says: “This news is very welcome and potentially transformative for the west and northwest region.  Embedding Veterinary Medicine education, and the expansion of Nursing education provision in the regions, would lead to further opportunities for students to study in the region and support the sustainability of the professions”.

Dr Edna Curley, Principal, Mountbellew Agricultural College, says: “To be able to support the agricultural community in this way would mean so much to us, given the support we have received from the agricultural sector over the years. We look forward to working with our ATU colleagues to develop potential further programmes suited to the region”. 

Dr Amanda McCloat, President of St Angela’s College, Sligo, warmly welcomes the announcement of the potential expansion of general nursing places across the university at a time of acute shortage of nursing graduates.

Dr Justin Kerr, Head of ATU Galway-Mayo School of Health Science, Wellbeing & Society and Vice President ATU Mayo, says: “This is a welcome development for the region, the potential increase in general nursing places will have a significant impact in retaining nursing graduates across, Donegal, Sligo and Mayo.  This would be an important step forward as ATU continues to work with our partners in healthcare across the west and north west.”

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