Preparations are well underway for the first intake of students who will study at the new, independent North Wales Medical School at Bangor University, the Minister for North Wales Lesley Griffiths said today as she visited the facility.
In January the First Minister announced the Welsh Government would fund up to 140 students a year at the facility, and the first 80 are due to start in September next year.
The new medical school for North Wales will admit and train hundreds of medical students in its first decade through both 5-year School and 4-year Graduate Entry routes, and will help ensure increased training opportunities for qualified doctors to stay and work within NHS Wales.
They will carry out their studies in state-of-the-art facilities at the University’s Brigantia Building and its Fron Heulog Medical and Healthcare simulation suite, including the use of leading-edge electronic dissection tables to study anatomy.
The Minister also met some of the students from the current Cardiff C21 North Wales Medicine programme who are completing their studies at Bangor University and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board facilities across North Wales. Uniquely, students also complete all of Year 3 in General Practice, embedded in a North Wales community.
The first 17 students to complete the C21 North Wales programme graduated in July this year, all having passed their exams at the first sitting. The success of the current programme is a result of a close partnership with and support from Cardiff University School of Medicine, and provides a solid foundation for the new, independent programme.
The Minister said: “The North Wales Medical School will train the expansion of medical staff required for the future, and it’s been great to see the facilities here today and to hear about the experiences of the students who are already studying at Bangor University. I hope the students who will pass through these doors and train in the region will also choose North Wales as their place of work once they have qualified. The facilities here are excellent and there is real enthusiasm and commitment from all involved. This is good news for the students, the people of North Wales and the Health Board, and demonstrates our commitment to a health service that delivers care as close to people’s homes as possible.”
Professor Edmund Burke Vice Chancellor Bangor University said: “The North Wales Medical School represents a real step forward for the University, adding to our existing portfolio of education and research across healthcare disciplines. It emphasises our close relationship and support for health services across the region. Our new medical students will benefit from an extensive investment in modern training facilities, our experienced teaching staff and great support from health service staff across North Wales”.
Professor Stephen Riley, Head of Medicine, Cardiff University said: “The establishment of the North Wales Medical School is the culmination of many years hard work. We have supported our partners at Bangor University to prove the concept of medical training being delivered in north Wales in its entirety. As preparations continue for the first intake of students, we will continue to advise and guide colleagues as the new medical school completes its journey to becoming an independent school.”
The North Wales Medical School is a Programme for Government commitment and is a partnership between the Welsh Government, Bangor University, Cardiff University and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Primary Care providers across North Wales.