GP shortage could be tackled by university medical school

Credit: This story was first seen on the BBC

The BBC reports that Bangor University is ready to host a new medical school in north Wales, one of its top medics has said.

Professor Dean Williams, head of the School of Medical Sciences, said “relatively few extra academic staff would be needed” to establish a doctor training facility in the city.

The Welsh government will make an announcement on medical training in north Wales in “the coming weeks”.

It comes as moves are made to tackle a shortage of doctors in Wales.

In the report, Professor Williams said Wales must expand medical schools to deal with future shortages of doctors, particularly GPs.

He believes an extra 120 medical student training places are needed and a rural campus in north Wales would cater for the area’s needs better than building on existing training structures in Wales.

“Selection is key to recruiting GPs for rural areas,” he said.

“Bangor University is in an ideal position to foster and recruit students from rural Wales and Welsh-speaking communities. Evidence from school pupils suggests that they would be attracted to a medical school in the region.”

Professor Williams also believes clinical teachers and research scientists already working in north Wales could provide the training.

The report was commissioned by Plaid Cymru and Arfon AM Sian Gwenllian, who urged the government to act.

She said: “We face a crisis in Wales from a medical perspective, and the idea of a new medical school goes some of the way towards dealing with that crisis.”

The Welsh Conservatives said a medical school must be sustainable, while the Liberal Democrats said that the problem of recruitment needs to be addressed.

UKIP did not respond to a request for a comment.

A Welsh government spokesman said: “We are already looking at the provision of medical education and training in North Wales, including the case for a new medical school. We expect to be in a position to announce our decision in the coming weeks.”

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The university is ready to work with the government to establish a medical school if it is its intention, a spokesman said.

However, he added it is essential it is sustainable “in terms of resources, staffing and finance”.