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‘Positives from the pandemic’: Health innovation and new ways of working in north Wales

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A new RCP Cymru Wales report highlights the importance of training doctors locally in north Wales as a solution to the workforce crisis.  

Following a recent visit to north Wales, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) vice president for Wales, Dr Olwen Williams, has congratulated consultant physicians and junior doctors on the way they have adapted to new ways of working since the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new RCP report, Positives from the pandemic, tells the story of a new groundbreaking clinical research facility in north Wales, and the role it played in COVID-19 vaccination trials. It highlights work being done with patients to make ensure that their voices are better heard. It also discusses the importance of encouraging and mentoring local children in north Wales into careers in medicine.

There is a well-known consultant doctor shortage across the whole of the UK, and the problem is particularly bad in north Wales. In 2021, over half (53%) of advertised consultant physician posts in north Wales were unsuccessful, and in most cases there were literally no applicants for the job.

Without long-term measures to increase the NHS Wales workforce, the health service will be unable to cope with the needs of an ageing population and a rise in clinical demand, especially in rural and remote areas. With major gaps in both trainee and consultant-grade rotas in every hospital in Wales, there are simply not enough Welsh-domiciled students applying to medical school – encouraging and mentoring local sixth-formers into the new medical school in Bangor will be a vital part of the long-term solution.