Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services
On 18 July I issued a statement about the work undertaken to explore the potential for increased medical education and training opportunities within North Wales, including whether there is a case for establishing an additional medical school in North Wales. In that statement I confirmed that while not persuaded of the need for a new Medical School there is a case for increased medical education to take place in North Wales.
I also confirmed, following discussion with my Cabinet colleague, the Cabinet Secretary for Education that a proposed collaborative approach to medical education and training in North Wales based upon Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor Universities working more closely is an approach which can deliver this increase in medical education opportunities in North Wales. In my statement I also committed to update Assembly Members on progress.
I can confirm the three universities, along with the Wales Deanery, have continued to work together to identify key areas which would need to be addressed to make their initial approach a reality. My officials met with all parties on 21st September to build on the work already undertaken and I am advised the meeting was both well attended and positive. During the meeting a number of issues were identified which required further consideration by the universities to enable agreement to be reached on next steps.
I am aware the universities have met on a number of occasions since the meeting on 21st September and have kept officials informed of developments. A proposed way forward has been received from the universities but this is a complex area and additional time is required to address some of the key issues arising from the work undertaken to date.
Any future approach will be reliant on each organisation being clear about the role it will play in the future arrangements and I consider it important to provide the universities with the time needed to inform that future approach.
As a result of the Welsh Government’s two-year Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru, funding of £7m in each of 2018-19 and 2019-20 has been secured as a development fund for undergraduate medical training in North Wales.
Further meetings with officials will take place early in the new year and I will provide members with a more detailed update following these discussions.