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Medical school quotas will strengthen the NHS

Figures reveal that Wales lags behind in home-grown doctor levels

Plaid Cymru has called for quotas to be set for Welsh-domiciled students studying in Welsh medical schools, arguing that it is the most sustainable way of increasing the number of doctors working in Wales.

The Party of Wales Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said evidence suggests that there is a very strong likelihood that students from and studying in an area will stay and work in that area after they qualify. She said that currently Wales performs particularly badly in this field compared with England and Scotland:

  • 90% of English medical school places were filled by English-domiciled students
  • 60% of Scottish Medical school places filled by Scottish-domiciled students
  • and only 40% of Welsh medical school places filled by Welsh-domiciled students, and it is much lower in other years.

The Party of Wales Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said:

“The vast majority of initiatives for extra doctors should based around training and recruiting a home-grown pool of doctors. If we want to see an increase in doctors then we have to start by training those doctors early.

“Plaid Cymru will begin this work with an all-Wales quota for our medical schools. Evidence suggests that there is a very strong likelihood that students from and studying in an area will stay and work in those communities, so if we can increase the number of Welsh-domiciled students studying in Wales they are much more likely to stay and work in the Welsh NHS when they qualify.

“This can provide valuable jobs areas where young people often find it difficult to find work such as in rural areas, and will also help us fill difficult-to-recruit posts.

“The Welsh Deanery recently advocated that medical schools in Wales should have a quota of Welsh-domiciled students. It has been suggested that this could be as high as 75%, although I would probably start it near the 40-50% and increase it progressively, especially if it runs alongside a school programme to attract interest in a medical career in our schools, especially schools where traditionally not many have gone in to medicine.

“Plaid Cymru has detailed plans to train and recruit a thousand extra doctors to the Welsh NHS. While recruitment drives are a short-term solution to the problem, Plaid Cymru’s plans to combine recruitment and golden hellos with sustained effort to harness home-grown talent will give Wales the safe and sustainable NHS we need.”