From heart pumps to tomorrow’s health professionals: University innovations in spotlight for Minister’s visit

From hi-tech heart pumps to educating the next generation of health professionals, innovations which will improve health and the NHS were shown to Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Vaughan Gething AM, when he visited Swansea University on 2 March.

The Cabinet Secretary met senior University leaders, with discussions focusing on developing:

  • the regional economy through creating a vibrant life science sector, including the proposed City Deal for the Swansea Bay City Region; and
  • health education programmes to alleviate the pressures facing the Welsh NHS, including Swansea University’s innovative Physician Associates and Enhanced Paramedic Practice schemes and expansion plans for the successful Graduate Entry Medicine course.

 During his visit Mr Gething had an opportunity to:

  • See Calon Cardio, a Swansea University-based company which is developing the next generation of affordable, implantable micro blood pumps for treating chronic heart failure
  • Meet our Physician Associate students, who will take on this new role, supporting doctors in diagnosing and managing patient treatment.  The Welsh Government recently announced funding to support the training of physician associates
  • Meet our Graduate Entry Medicine students, our MBBCh innovative, 4-year accelerated medical degree open to graduates of any discipline.
  • Discuss other innovative projects being undertaken by the University

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Picture: Vaughan Gething meets students from the Medical School and the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University

Hosting the Cabinet Secretary on his visit were: Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor; Professor Marc Clement, Dean of the School of Management; Professor Keith Lloyd, Dean and Head of Swansea University Medical School, and Professor Ceri Phillips, Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences.  Senior figures from the local NHS also took part in the discussions.

Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said:

“It was great to meet senior university leaders and students at the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University today. There is some really fantastic work happening here, which will help pave the way for a successful and innovative future for the NHS in Wales.”

400 x 519Picture: Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Vaughan Gething, adds his signature to the list of distinguished visitors on the wall of the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University.

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University, said:

“The Cabinet Secretary’s visit was a good opportunity to discuss how Swansea University can mobilise its facilities and expertise to increase further its support for the NHS, working closely with Health Boards and the Welsh Government.

We are educating tomorrow's doctors, life scientists, nurses, and allied health professionals.   The visit helped ensure that we have a full picture of the NHS’s requirements, so we can continue our mission of creating a Medical School for Wales and give students a rounded understanding of how the NHS operates, before they enter the workforce.

We discussed innovative ways of increasing the number of students who train in Wales and who remain to work for the Welsh NHS, including Welsh speakers.    We also spoke about our work with the NHS on the ARCH project, which is reshaping the NHS in south and west Wales to meet the needs of the 21st century.

It was important that the Cabinet Secretary was able to meet some of our current students, training on courses such as graduate entry medicine, physicians’ associate or emergency paramedic practice.  

These courses are examples of successful innovations by Swansea University, to meet the needs of the NHS.

Swansea University is very well placed to deliver collaborative solutions by drawing on its strong track record of teaching research and innovation.  This record is one of the reasons why we were named Welsh University of the Year 2017.”