The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, recently announced cross border collaboration and excellence in medical education at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen.

The South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen is the only hospital in Northern Ireland to offer Consultant led teaching with medical student placements from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Since 2012, students from both Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI) have been accessing undergraduate medical education in the state of the art South West Acute Hospital, under the guidance of a dedicated team of medical Consultants within the Trust.

Opening the event to recognise excellence in medical education, Gerard Guckian, Chairman of the Trust said: “The Trust strives to offer excellence in medical education. For many years we have been successfully providing consultant led teaching to students from Queens University in Belfast. With the opening of the new South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen in 2012 we had an opportunity to expand medical education to undergraduates from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. This cross border partnership is unique to Northern Ireland as students from both North and South participate in Consultant led teaching operating under a range of specialities.

“The Trust and the students are indebted to all of the Consultants who freely give their time to enrich the student experience and provide ward based teaching. This is real medical education in action and shows we have a body of doctors who care passionately about high quality healthcare and about the future of their profession.” Speaking at the event, Professor Pascal McKeown, Queen’s University said: “Queen’s is committed to working in partnership with the Western Trust to ensure that our medical students can experience the highest quality of clinical teaching to allow them to become critical thinkers, and reflective practitioners, with excellent clinical skills, who value, above all else, service to patients. Our students on clinical placement in SWAH tell us that they receive wonderful educational support from the enthusiastic staff members who work in the hospital. They also greatly appreciate the opportunity to have shared learning with students from the RCSI. “ Professor Arnie Hill, Head of the RCSI School of Medicine said: “I was delighted to celebrate this cross border educational collaboration which sees students from RCSI being trained alongside students from Queen’s University. I believe it is important for RCSI students to experience a different healthcare system to the one in which they receive the majority of their training. It is an excellent opportunity for our students to be afforded the opportunity to experience the NHS as part of their core experiential learning in their medical degree programme.

“The feedback from our students that have undertaken placements in the South West Acute Hospital has been outstanding and highlights the emphasis the hospital and staff place on teaching to create a rich learning experience for our students.”