Smith welcomes third level expansion for key healthcare and therapy areas

Local Fianna Fáil TD, Brendan Smith, has welcomed a significant increase in the number of third level places available in healthcare courses, including therapy places to support disability services.

 From September, this will include:

  • An increase of 100 places in the undergraduate intake in key therapies, including 50 places available in Northern Ireland;
  • The roll-out of Post-Leaving Cert courses to train speech and language therapist assistants in five Education and Training Boards, with an estimated 120 students expected on these programmes.
  • The provision of 665 additional places in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and other key healthcare courses, including 200 places in nursing in Northern Ireland.

Deputy Brendan Smith said,  “Increasing the workforce is absolutely essential to addressing demands in the healthcare system and to improving access to the services people rely on.

“The further and higher education sector has a critical role to play in ensuring that our healthcare services have the staff they need to deliver the care that people need, and these places are an important step in that direction.  

“Increasing the supply of therapists is the best way of ensuring that the HSE can deliver much needed interventions for children and cut the waiting lists for Assessment of Need.  

“I was particularly pleased to see that five Education and Training Boards (ETBs) including Cavan and Monaghan ETB will be providing speech and language assistant Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses from September. 

“It’s important that we have a clear pipeline of appropriately qualified people and today’s announcement demonstrates Fianna Fáil’s commitment to bolster the potential staff available to support people.”