North Wales Medical School Proposal

The Academy remains concerned at medical recruitment difficulties in many specialities across Wales and is keen to support initiatives which will encourage doctors to come to work in the NHS in Wales. We recognise that many graduates will choose to work near where they trained. We are also aware that not enough Welsh domiciled school leavers are choosing medicine as a career and not enough Welsh speaking students are choosing medicine in Wales. We are pleased both Swansea and Cardiff universities are seriously considering how such students can be encouraged and offered places if they meet the required standards.

We believe there should be more undergraduate medical places in Wales. We also note that for potential medical students from North Wales, medical schools in England may appeal more than the two South Wales medical schools. It is as important to entice Welsh medical students back to Wales as it is to encourage them to learn in Wales. It is equally important to bring non-Welsh, non-Wales graduates to Wales.

Wales has to be attractive in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate medical training, career opportunities, and lifestyle, in order to compete with the rest of the UK.

One option to increase medical training capacity is to open a new medical school in Bangor. There is already a respected health science centre at Bangor. There are plenty of health care staff willing to support a medical school locally. The Academy believes it is important that students learn with colleagues from other cultures and localities. Medical students must be exposed to all sectors of medical care and all should have opportunities for academic study. We would support the concept of a north Wales medical school as being particularly strong on rural medicine but we would not support a medical school solely for Welsh students or mainly focussing on rural care, important though both those factors may be.  The standards and experience provided by a North Wales Medical School much be as least as good as other medical school in Wales , the UK or wider. The resulting competences and qualification must be recognised as equal to others and able to take the graduate ultimately into any specialty.  Whilst the majority of experience and skills acquisition will be obtained across the BCUHB sites including primary care, this would require strong relationships with some specialist centres outside North Wales and for the convenience of students we suggest that those might preferably be with North West and West Midland universities.

The Academy would  also like to see more support for sixth form students in Welsh schools to prepare themselves for medical school applications. The RCGP has organised several meetings for school students informing them about a career in medicine and giving advice about how to submit applications and perform in interviews. Several postgraduate centres provide one week introductory courses and a few centres  offer appropriate  work experience linked to clinical units.

For more information please contact: Ollie John, Operational Manager of AMRCW



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