First Minister, Carwyn Jones and Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths visited Morriston Hospital in Swansea to promote the campaign. This follows the launch of a website in January which provides would-be doctors with more information on the benefits of working in Wales.
The Work for Wales package includes:
- taking the Work for Wales campaign to medical recruitment fairs and careers events across the UK and on any overseas recruitment drives;
- an increasingly active R&D and innovation programme, including the ‘Invent’ scheme that financially rewards clinicians in Wales to enable them to develop inventions;
- a commitment to maintain free first-year accommodation for trainees, making Wales the only UK country to offer this to student doctors, with many accommodation facilities being upgraded; and
- creating a network of clinical ambassadors for Wales – senior medical personnel who will promote what is best about Wales as a place to be a doctor.
Launching the campaign, First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“The Work for Wales campaign will promote the unique prospects Wales can offer doctors at all levels, from free accommodation for those just starting out in their career and schemes that reward staff for developing ideas that benefit patient care, to the unique opportunities at senior consultant level in terms of leading innovations in care.”
“There are certain medical specialties, and certain parts of Wales, where there have been ongoing difficulties filling vacant posts.
“This is not solely a Welsh problem, as there is a UK-wide shortage of doctors in specialties such as emergency medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics. The campaign will sell Wales as a great place to live and work.”
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths added:
“We have to ensure the great work going on in Wales is highlighted and promoted outside Wales. I firmly believe we have been too reticent to shout about our successes in the past.
“This is something we have to change, and Work for Wales will give doctors from outside Wales who are considering re-locating a chance to discuss what opportunities exist and what working and living in Wales offers.”
Jon Featherstone, a urology surgeon at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board who benefited from the Invent programme, said:
“I was delighted to receive £30,000 through the INVENT scheme which gave me an amazing opportunity to develop my idea for a novel surgical device. The funds have enabled me to design the device, develop a prototype, and submit a patent application.
“Invent is a unique scheme that I’m sure would be an attractive prospect to many clinicians who are considering working in Wales.”
The first clinical champions were announced today and the network will expand over coming months to include Medical Directors, consultants, research academics and GPs over a range of medical specialties, each contributing as ambassadors and taking opportunities to promote Wales, for example on UK and overseas engagements, such as medical conferences.
Jane Harrison, one of the clinical champions announced today, said:
“I moved to Wales with my family 18 years ago, having trained and worked in London. We chose a lifestyle that offered us the best of all worlds – an affordable home in a beautiful rural environment, job opportunities for my husband and a choice of excellent state schools.
“The health agenda in Wales is one of integrated care that conserves the original principles of Aneurin Bevan's NHS and provides a sound foundation for the challenging times ahead. Working here as a GP has much to offer those who wish to retain a purely clinical focus in practice or who would like to combine this with experience in developing innovative primary care services for their patients.”
The campaign will run over the next 12-18 months. The campaign will also include advertorials in the medical and specialist press to coincide with recruitment rounds.
Innovation seminars will also be held to celebrate and showcase outstanding medical practice and research, targeting doctors from the UK and abroad, with the first to be held later this year.