PROGRESS being made at North Wales' new medical school will make a 'huge difference' to the lives of people in the region, a Member of the Senedd (MS) has said.

In the Senedd recently, Clwyd South MS Ken Skates asked Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan for an update on the project which was a key Welsh Labour manifesto pledge ahead of the 2021 election.

Ms Morgan said: “The North Wales medical school is progressing well, with students due to commence their studies this September."

Rhyl Journal: Eluned MorganEluned Morgan

She added: "The General Medical Council are satisfied with progress following their quality assurance visit in July of last year, allowing the school to proceed with student recruitment which took place last December and this January.”

The school will train hundreds of medical students in its first decade and help ensure increased training opportunities for qualified doctors to stay and work within NHS Wales.

They will study in state-of-the-art facilities at Bangor University’s Brigantia Building and its Fron Heulog medical and healthcare simulation suite, which includes leading-edge electronic dissection tables to study anatomy.

Responding to the Health Secretary, Mr Skates – recently appointed Cabinet Secretary for North Wales – said: “Can I put on record my thanks for all of the work that you've done in pursuing this? It will make a huge difference to North Wales.

“Would you agree that this is exactly what we need to do in order to futureproof the Welsh NHS?”

Rhyl Journal: Ken SkatesKen Skates

Ms Morgan added: “I'm really delighted with this, and to see people now being recruited directly to that North Wales medical school is really heartening. The direct intake will start this autumn and will increase to get to its maximum capacity so, by 2029, there'll be 140 students per year.

“What we do know is, of the ones that have been recruited into the Cardiff school but then are placed in North Wales, around 50% have not only stayed in North Wales but they've stayed in Betsi (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board). It's exactly the kind of outcome we were looking for.”

The North Wales Medical School is a partnership between the Welsh Government, Bangor University, Cardiff University, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Primary Care providers across North Wales.

After Senedd proceedings concluded, Mr Skates added: “The North Wales Medical School, promised and delivered by the Welsh Labour Government, will train the expansion of medical staff required for the future.

“I hope more and more of the students who choose to train in the region will also choose to stay, live and work in North Wales after qualifying.”