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Thursday, 2 July 2009

ARM – focus on student finance/debt

And so to yesterday afternoon’s session of the ARM.

We heard the reports from chairs of the following branch of practice committees: general practice; private practice; staff and associate specialists; medical students and junior doctors.

A number of issues within those professions were debated. Conference was treated to a notably lively and impassioned debate on student fees. This is something the Welsh Medical Student Committee (WMSC) has been working on in recent months following the Assembly Education Minister’s proposals to re-focus higher education in Wales.

I know that the Chair of WMSC, Elliott King, has spent many hours considering the implications of the proposals for medical students in Wales and along with the Committee has crafted BMA Cymru Wales’ response to this, at the same time as sitting his own final year exams. I’m looking forward to welcoming Elliott back as Dr King next term given his recent finals success. Congratulations to Elliott and all those who’ve passed their exams.

Conference heard from students who will be graduating with a crippling debt of more than £30,000.

The important area of medical education and training for Junior Doctors also delivered a lively debate. The mention of EWTD, working patterns, rota gaps and student/teacher ratios were met by jeers from fellow Juniors and other delegates. Again the issue of free accommodation for Junior Doctors was discussed. I wonder just how long it will take other nations to follow Wales lead and recognise the value of this important policy.

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