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Written Statement - Medical Education and Training in North Wales

Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport

I have previously informed members that I would provide an update before summer recess on the potential for increased medical education and training opportunities within North Wales. This includes whether there is a case for establishing an additional medical school in North Wales. Welsh Government officials met and discussed this important matter over a number of months with key stakeholders across North Wales, the wider NHS family and the two current medical schools in Wales.  I have discussed and agreed how to take this matter forward with my Cabinet colleague, the Cabinet Secretary for Education.

The advice I have received does not support the case for the immediate creation of a medical school in North Wales. However, there are a series of other steps which have been proposed which I will continue to consider.

While I am not persuaded on the need for a new Medical School, I do believe that there is a case for increased medical education to take place in North Wales.

A proposed collaborative approach to medical education and training in North Wales based upon Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor Universities working more closely can deliver the increase in medical education opportunities in North Wales.

All parties have confirmed a willingness to work together to deliver programmes which would result in students having the option of spending a far greater period of their studies North Wales.

Establishing a medical school is a long and costly process; the proposal outlined above provides for a better use of resources and would deliver medical education in North Wales at a much greater pace. That would be the case whether that be through the existing intake or any potential future expansion in medical school places.

I have asked my officials to continue to work with all Universities to further develop this proposal over the summer and to provide me with further practical advice to take this matter forward. I will update Assembly Members in the autumn term.