The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has announced the creation of an Expert Advisory Panel to review opportunities for new programmes in dentistry, medicine, nursing and veterinary.
The panel consists of 14 members total, each of which has been appointed to “represent the professional and regulatory bodies aligned to the disciplines within the scope of this process”, according to the HEA.
It includes representatives from government departments and organisations that have direct professional or academic expertise in the relevant disciplines, or senior level knowledge of the higher education system.
Dr Alan Wall, chair of the new Expert Advisory Panel and CEO of the HEA, praised the work of the Expert Advisory Panel, stating: “This HEA initiative will produce a range of viable options for enhanced programme provision in these disciplinary areas for onward consideration by Government and further scrutiny by the appropriate regulatory authorities.”
In October 2022, the HEA initiated a capacity-building process, with 39 expressions of interest in programme expansion and revision from 15 institutions. The Expert Advisory Panel will begin the second phase of this process, reviewing 19 applications.
In a statement, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris emphasised his commitment to providing a “substantial increase in the amount training places across veterinary and healthcare “.
Harris also went on to commend the Expert Advisory Panel, saying: “I look forward to receiving the recommendations from the HEA and to working across government to deliver these opportunities for students and the healthcare system.”
The HEA is set to present the final list of programme expansion as well as new program provision to the government in March 2023.