On a visit to Cardiff University’s School of Medicine today (Thursday 6 February 2020), Health Minister, Vaughan Gething AM, will announce Welsh Government funding for a scheme to support more Welsh speaking prospective medical and dental students to successfully apply to university.
The Doctoriaid Yfory/Tomorrow’s Doctors scheme run in partnership with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the Welsh Government and Cardiff and Swansea universities, was first launched in September 2018 to encourage more Welsh speaking sixth form pupils to successfully apply to study Medicine at university.
The scheme has run for two years across Wales with prospective medics benefiting from a programme of targeted support involving masterclasses and summer schools designed to develop skills relevant to their application and future studies. Mentored by Welsh speaking doctors and Welsh speaking medical students, those involved in the scheme have also gained invaluable insight into the challenges and opportunities of training and working as a doctor in the NHS in Wales.
The first cohort of successful Doctoriaid Yfory students began their studies at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine in September 2019 when the University saw its highest ever number of Welsh speaking students enrol on the course. The Health Minister will today meet some of the first year students who took part in the initial scheme who are now studying Medicine at Cardiff University and also some of the mentors who were involved in providing them with essential support.
The new funding of just over £15,000, will be formally announced by the Minister today. It will allow the scheme to run for its third year and will also, for the first time, provide support for prospective Dentistry students.
The long term aim of the scheme is to address the objectives of the Welsh Government strategy More Than Just Words in order to strengthen Welsh language services in health and care.
Speaking ahead of today’s visit, the Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM said:
“At the heart of our strategic framework, More than Just Wordsis the belief that being able to use your own language is an integral part of care. Care and language go hand in hand and together we have a responsibility to establish a supportive culture to ensure that services are available to Welsh speakers.
“This event recognises, and celebrates, the hard work and dedication of everybody involved in the success of the Supporting Medical Careers scheme.”
Dr Dafydd Trystan, Registrar at the Coleg Cymraeg said:
“We are delighted that the Welsh Government recognises and values the Doctoriaid Yfory scheme and the important contribution it is making to ensuring that our National Health Service is able to meet the needs of a bilingual Wales. There is a real need to increase the number of Welsh speakers in the NHS workforce so that people can be cared for in the language of their choice.
“The Coleg Cymraeg is very grateful to the government for committing to fund the scheme for the third year and is looking forward to working with its partners to deliver support to the prospective students who will hopefully become tomorrow’s doctors and dentists.”
Speaking on behalf of Cardiff University, Dr Rhian Goodfellow, C21 Director said:
“It’s important that we attract the brightest prospective medical students from across the UK. However, we must always be mindful of the language requirements of our patients. When you are ill it can mean so much to be treated in your preferred language. This project has made a huge difference to the support we can offer our Welsh speaking students. The impact will be witnessed right across the NHS in Wales and I’m delighted to see the announcement of additional funding from the Welsh Government.”