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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

2010 for Medical Students in Wales

In 2010, the Welsh Medical Schools Committee (WMSC) will be working hard to forge better standards for medical students across a broad range of tough issues. Our priorities include improving standards of education and reducing the financial burden on medical students.

In September 2009, Swansea medical school welcomed its first cohort that will complete all four years of the graduate entry programme at Swansea University. As the course evolves and grows, so too does the WMSC. We have one of the strongest committees I have had the fortune to be a part of so I have great optimism for a successful year.

Last year Cardiff University appointed a new Dean of Medicine. Over the course of the year we hope to build a strong working relationship with him with the goal of improving education and administration for medical students. The work we have done together so far has been very encouraging and we are very grateful for his frankness and willingness to discuss our concerns. The change in administration and exam mark processing protocols are of paramount importance, as we never want to see a repeat of last year's debacle.

Financial issues are a continuous cause for concern for medical students. The average debt upon graduating is approximately £37,000 and with the proposed lift of the cap on tuition fees as well as the reform of the NHS bursary system this could lead to student debt mounting even further. This not only penalises students across the board but will almost certainly disproportionally reduce applications from students of a lower socio-economic background. This is unacceptable. As the WMSC we are in the unique position to lobby for a fairer system that will benefit medical students across Wales. We also hope to implement initiatives to encourage Widening Participation.

We look forward to working with you and for you.

Tom Combellack
WMSC Chair 2009/2010

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