Mr Durkan said alternative funding options must be explored as a matter of urgency if the expectant medical school intake by 2020/2021 is to be delivered.
Said the Foyle MLA: “We cannot see this vital opportunity squandered- all stakeholders committed to the delivery of a medical school for Derry and the wider expansion of Magee, must keep their nose to the grindstone and ensure a comprehensive business case and funding solutions are secured.
“This project has faced delay after delay and crucially without a Minister in place to sign off on this decision, making the looming 2020 deadline appears unlikely.
“A great deal of ground-work has been put in to get where we are, including our hard-won City Deal which secured an investment of £100 million towards UU.
“Now to hear whispers that this flagship project is ‘not financially viable’ and why alternative funding opportunities have not been sought before now is bewildering.
“The Department’s argument is that they cannot afford to do it, I would argue that they can’t afford not to do it.
“We only have to look at the soaring locum costs, the widening waiting lists and the chronic lack of specialist health professionals within our GP practices and hospitals.
“We can’t let this become a case of being promised the moon, to be delivered a lemon.
“Action is needed and needed urgently- all agencies involved need to be firing on all-cylinders in the intervening period to ensure Magee’s medical school is guaranteed.
“Of course, it is not a panacea to our problems but it is a start; a start towards a more effective health service and an improved local economy.
“It cannot be allowed to slip through our fingers at this crucial stage of delivery,” added the former Stormont Minister.