Warning over rising tuition fees

AN increase in tuition fees could have a “catastrophic” effect on patient care.

The warning came from the BMA’s medical student committee in Northern Ireland. Chairman Neil Cunningham raised fears that the prospect of increasing debt will deter would-be doctors from going to medical school.

He said: “Studying medicine and becoming a doctor is not so much a career choice but a vocation. BMA is concerned that the additional debt incurred due to repayment of higher tuition fees will deter talented individuals from pursuing a career in medicine.

“This can only have a detrimental, potentially catastrophic effect, on future health service delivery and patient care".

He also highlighted the need to retain a “vibrant and competitive tertiary education sector” or risk the deskilling of professions which could have a negative knock-on effect on patient care.

The concerns were set out in the BMA’s response to the recent DEL consultation Future policy on higher education tuition fees and student finance arrangements in Northern Ireland.