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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Refreshing slice of medical student life

As promised when I last blogged on here last week, I said I would write about the next generation of Welsh medics, so here it is!

I went to our latest Medical Students Committee meeting a few days ago, and I have to say how refreshing it was to hear from young people, who are so enthusiastic and committed to their vocation. In general these days, youngsters get a fairly bad press, often seen as disinterested and disengaged. So I was really proud to see and hear this group wanting to improve standards and their overall educational experience, to make sure they become good doctors. It was somewhat unfortunate and disheartening to also hear how the training and resources, may not match the students’ dedication. It is worrying and disappointing that with members of this committee wanting to be good doctors, working to excellent standards, the system seems to be letting them down with poor educational experiences in some hospitals in Wales.

We all know medical students face an excessive financial burden, so it’s even more important that they are getting good training, to feel as if they are making a sound financial investment in their future. And the medical student experience looks likely to get ever more expensive as well in years to come with the WAG’s plans to refocus student finance in Wales (ie. scrapping the tuition fees grant), so what we need is a. for youngsters not to be put off a medical career because of excessive financial burdens and b. those who do undertake training, to ensure they are getting value for money and the best educational experience possible.

There are significant junior doctor vacancies in Wales already, which in the long term will affect patient care, so it is imperative we do all we can to support and provide high quality training to stay working in the NHS here.

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