A snapshot of the career intentions and opinions of Welsh medical students has revealed a ‘damning indictment’ of Labour’s running of the Welsh NHS, says Plaid Cymru.

A survey, conducted by the BMA, asked medical students across Wales of their intentions after graduation and what factors influenced their opinion.

125 students across Wales’ Medical schools took part in the survey, and of those 55% of respondents said that they weren’t sure whether they would stay in Wales after graduating, while only 25% were committed to staying in Wales.

Of those who did plan to stay in Wales, not one person responded that they were doing so because of the doctors pay reward in Wales could be described as ‘fair’. For those who said that they would leave Wales, 66.6% said that their decision to do so was influenced by the current pay and conditions for Junior Doctors in Wales. Of those, 46% said that the pay offer doesn’t cover living costs and 87% said that pay is higher elsewhere.

In terms of other reasons for wanting to leave Wales, 48% said that it was because of the poor state of the Welsh NHS. Other reasons that were noted included poor transport links in Wales and wanting to experience a more advanced level of care in the NHS, for example, digital notes, and prescriptions. One respondent said “I am Welsh and I hate the idea of leaving Wales, but as things stand, I struggle to see a good future for myself in the profession here.”

In reply to the question about what would encourage them to stay in medicine in Wales, 90% said improved pay, and over 70% said changes to working conditions.

Responding to the survey, Plaid, Cymru spokesperson for Health and Social Care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, said:

“Medicine schools in Wales are vital places to grow the workforce that our NHS greatly needs. However, the responses of the medicines students across Wales - the next generation of Welsh Doctors - reveals a damning indictment of the state of the NHS in Wales under the Labour-run Welsh government.

“Labour have run the Welsh NHS for the last 25 years in Wales, but in that time they failed to get to grips with the needs of the modern workforce. 

“Pay is obviously an important factor for many of the students, and there is almost unanimous support for striking Junior Doctors amongst Welsh medicine students. In many cases, the pay offer to Junior Doctors does not cover living costs. This is outrageous.

“But what is also clear from the responses, is that Labour has failed on many other fronts to modernise the NHS, to create the conditions for a sustainable work-life balance for the medical profession, and to make Wales that modern, connected country that entices this highly skilled and important workforce to stay and build their careers in our country.

Plaid Cymru is the only party in the Senedd that is calling for fair pay and working conditions for our NHS staff. As Junior Doctors go on strike again today, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and call on the Labour-run Welsh government to invest, not only in the current generation of doctors in Wales, but also the next generation. We’ll continue to fight for our Welsh NHS, calling for fairness and presenting an ambitious programme for our health services and for the people of Wales.”