Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has spent £80million on Locum Doctors over the last three years.

The Staff shortage boosts the case for a North Wales Medical School, argues Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon, Siân Gwenllian, who has today challenged the Labour Welsh Government over its recruitment of NHS staff in North Wales as new figures show that 37% of all medical vacancies in the country are in Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board.

Siân Gwenllian used today’s session of First Minister’s Questions to press the First Minister and his Labour Welsh Government over its decision to reject proposals to establish a medical school in Bangor.

She added that Health Boards currently spend considerable amounts of money on locums and agency staff due to recruitment problems and that an initial investment in a medical school would soon pay its way.

Siân Gwenllian who has been at the forefront of the campaign for a North Wales Medical School said: “These new figures highlight the ongoing problem of NHS recruitment across North Wales. There are currently 141 medical vacancies in Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board alone, accounting for 37% of all Welsh vacancies.

“This shows that the Labour Welsh Government’s regrettable decision to reject proposals for a new Medical School in North Wales is out of step with the evidence on NHS staff shortages.

“At the moment, Health Boards spend considerable amounts of money – nearly £80m over the last three years in Betsi alone – on locum doctors to plug the staffing gap throughout Wales.

“The initial investment in a Medical School would soon see the new establishment pay its own way and save Health Boards from having to pay for locums time and time again.

“The Labour Welsh Government is yet to produce the business case which it claims exists against establishing a new Medical School.

“Plaid Cymru has already outlined how we could train 40 additional doctors in Bangor through cooperating with other Welsh universities in an important step towards giving north Wales its own medical school.

“The evidence is mounting and the Labour Government should take action to ensure that every citizen in North Wales has better, faster access to quality medical care.”