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‘Clear need to increase the number of students from Wales able to study medicine at Welsh universities’, says National Assembly committee

29/06/2017

There is a clear need to increase the number of students from Wales securing places at Welsh medical schools, says a National Assembly committee.

This includes a call to increase the number of undergraduate places in Wales, including North Wales. It also includes a call for universities in Wales to do more to make sure students who achieve the necessary grades from Wales secure those places. 

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee has been looking at medical recruitment and what can be done to fill the many vacancies across Welsh health services. 

 
 


Read the full report:

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee - Report on the inquiry into medical recruitment (PDF, 1013 KB)


The Committee is concerned about the low and declining numbers of students living in Wales applying to study medicine. Despite some improvement during the 2017 application round, the number of applicants from Welsh domiciled students is still considerably lower than other parts of the UK.

Of particular concern is the low number of Welsh domiciled students securing places at Welsh medical schools. This is especially concerning in light of the evidence the Committee heard that there is a tendency for students, once qualified, to remain in the area where they studied initially.

The Committee wants the Welsh Government and the Wales Deanery, the organisation currently responsible for delivering medical training in Wales, to develop and agree proposals for an increase in the number of training places, targeted at key pressure areas.

“If we are to address the current recruitment and retention issues, we believe there is a clear case for increasing medical school capacity within Wales and to make sure that the capable pupils we have in Wales are supported to secure those places,” said Dr Dai Lloyd AM, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee.

“There are a number of factors that influence the recruitment and retention of medical staff.

“We heard about the importance of a good work/life balance for staff and their families, including good access to schools, communities, social life and stability of trainee placements.

“We welcome the Welsh Government’s commitment to attract and train more healthcare professionals in Wales, particularly the recent ‘Train. Work. Live.’ campaign, which promotes the broader concept of what NHS Wales and Wales as a country has to offer.

“However, there is still further work to be done to address the wide range of factors that could attract new medical staff to Wales and retain the existing workforce.”

The Committee makes 16 recommendations in its report, including:

  • The Cabinet Secretary should discuss and agree plans with the medical and clinical schools in Wales that will enhance and develop undergraduate medical training in Wales. This plan should include an increase in undergraduate medical school places, and an increase in the percentage of Welsh-domiciled students securing those places;
  • The Welsh Government should set out a clear plan to develop opportunities for undergraduate medical places in north Wales. This should include a new centre for medical education in Bangor. The Committee says the Cabinet Secretary should announce a decision within the timescales he has set for ‘summer 2017’;
  • The Welsh Government should work with the Deanery (or any successor body) and the medical schools in Wales to secure a sustained increase in the number of Welsh-domiciled students applying to medical schools within Wales; and
  • The Welsh Government should work with the Deanery (or any successor body) and medical schools in Wales to develop a programme of support and advice on medical schools admissions and interviews for pupils in Wales.

The report will now be considered by the Welsh Government.

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