Medical students will be able to complete all of their medical training in North Wales for the first time as part of a new initiative between Cardiff University and Bangor University.
The collaboration will enable Cardiff University’s highly successful MBBCh Medicine programme (C21) to be delivered through the School of Medical Sciences at Bangor University.
Cardiff University medical students have long benefitted from placements in north and west Wales, and this initiative now enables them to opt to complete their medical training programme entirely in North Wales.
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “The launch of this new programme is a significant step forward in the delivery of medical education in Wales. As an institution we are in the privileged position of being able to train the healthcare professionals of the future. It is a responsibility to ensure that our students are prepared and ready to make a real difference wherever they choose to work within our healthcare system.
“We recognise our obligations to Wales and our role in improving levels of health and well-being. The opportunity to train additional medical students in North Wales in collaboration with Bangor University will certainly benefit patients and the public in the region.”
Professor Graham Upton, Interim Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University, said: “This is excellent news and represents a landmark development in the history of the University. I offer my congratulations to everyone who has been involved in bringing this to fruition.”
The new partnership is in response to the challenges faced by the health and social care professions in Wales and the need to educate more health professionals both from Wales and in Wales. It will establish an innovative full-time medicine programme in North Wales, producing excellent doctors prepared for the changing needs of Welsh communities with a deep understanding of North Wales in particular.
Professor Stephen Riley, Dean of Medical Education at Cardiff University, said: “We are delighted to offer Cardiff University medical students the opportunity to undertake their entire medical degree in North Wales. This new stream of the highly successful C21 programme will significantly enhance our efforts to deliver innovative and distributed medical education in Wales and present a totally unique learning experience within the beautiful surroundings of North Wales.
“We always aim to train the very best doctors for Wales, and more widely in the UK, by providing high quality teaching, and an inspiring learning experience based around increased clinical contact. We are excited to mirror the well-established C21 programme with our colleagues at the School of Medical Sciences at Bangor University.
It is hoped that the programme will also allow additional routes into medicine and increase diversity within the medical profession whilst addressing local population health needs.
The C21 programme already recognises the importance of implementing Welsh Governments ‘A Healthier Wales’ and the new programme will specifically prepare students to recognise the importance of Primary Care in providing excellent patient centred care. It will also capitalise on existing strengths in Cardiff and Bangor Universities, which include medical education, health practitioner education, community engagement, and Welsh medium provision.
Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services said: “I am very pleased that students will now be able to start their journey of becoming doctors by studying medicine in North Wales, thanks to this collaboration. The Welsh Government is providing £7m to fund 40 new medical places this year, 20 in each of Cardiff and Swansea medical schools, along with the infrastructure to support them. Swansea University will also collaborate with Aberystwyth University to increase opportunities in west Wales.
“Students will undertake as much of their studies as possible in community based settings to reflect our commitment to ensuring care is delivered as close to patients’ homes as possible.”
Professor Dean Williams, Head of The School of Medical Sciences at Bangor University, said: “Bangor has established itself as a provider of quality teaching and research in life sciences. The new students will benefit from the teaching and learning our award winning staff provide. The combination of quality scientific teaching at Bangor University and established excellent clinical placements across North Wales will give students an exciting and rewarding learning experience.”
Ultimately this new programme will produce excellent doctors that are prepared for the changing needs of our communities, lead to improved recruitment and retention of doctors in North Wales, enrich the health and medical learning environment in North Wales and improve community health and wellbeing.