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Paul Edwards, Beverly Davies (ABUHB) and Guy Lacey (Coleg Gwent)

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board with Coleg Gwent

This Bevan Exemplar project is creating a pipeline of local doctors to improve recruitment and retention.


There will be only half the required general practitioner workforce in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) in 10 years. Surgeries are already closing. Most medical students are from relatively affluent backgrounds and will not choose to spend their careers in regions of relative social deprivation in Wales.

Wales has the least number of home-grown doctors of any of the UK nations. Due to doctor shortages in 2015-2016, locum costs in Wales were valued at approximately £50 million. In response to medical workforce shortages, 5 new medical schools are creating 1500 extra medical school places in England (about 1 new doctor per 37000 population).

Further medical schools are planned. In Wales, 40 new medical school places have been created (about 1 new doctor per 75000 population) drawn from the same traditional pool of applicants to medical school.


This project identified reasons why local students are unsuccessful in becoming doctors, including difficulties with engagement in education, confidence, financial reasons and lack of mentorship.

The project aimed to tackle these problems and to enable local students to enter medical school and return to their local communities once qualified.

These plans challenge traditional thinking but are of paramount important to sustain our medical workforce.


There is an inherent challenge in developing a career in Medicine, as it requires a demanding academic record.

Many students from communities in Wales might not obtain the traditional educational requirements for admission to medical school in a Russell Group Medical School.

Independent information from the A level information service (ALIS) in Durham University provides evidence that despite the lack of raw A level grades in Welsh students they are very capable and will benefit from a structured approach to succeed in medical school to become our future medical workforce.

This project aims to provide a capable and sustainable medical workforce in Wales.


Key outcomes of the project include:

  • Provision of resource by ABUHB in terms of medi-prep courses and training videos commissioned to coach students for success in medical school interviews.
  • A strengthened partnership between Coleg Gwent (part of the Careers College Trust) and the health board. The college named ABUHB as a major vocational training partner in health and social care.
  • Partnership working between Coleg Gwent, Cardiff University Medical School and ABUHB to develop an Access to Medicine further education course to increase success of local students gaining access to medical school.
  • Joint working with University of South Wales to establish a pipeline of local doctors through a Medical Sciences degree feeder course and other initiatives.
  • Development of a joint workforce strategy for health and social care.
  • Personal coaching and provision of a bursary to the first successful student in this programme.
  • Engagement with Cardiff University Medical School Admissions Group to widen access.
  • Provision of bursaries from funds provided by Welsh business benefactors.

Next steps:

The next steps for the project is to continue engagement with partnership working between Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Coleg Gwent, Cardiff University Medical School, University of South Wales and Social Services to further strengthen the collaboration and develop new initiatives and activities. Future plans also include developing a streamlined pathway to identify and support able local students to provide a sustainable future medical workforce from our talented local population.

“The Bevan Exemplar scheme provided an opportunity to innovate and improve the health of Wales.”

Professor Paul Edwards, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

“Without your support and guidance, I don’t believe I would have been able to secure a place in medicine… you have allowed me to access my dream and I am truly grateful for that.”