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Jennifer Pitt is a first year Cardiff University School of Medicine student and member of WMSC
It was an informative and enjoyable two days had by the six members of the Welsh Medical Students Committee (WMSC), who attended the UK Medical Students Conference 2017 at BMA House in London. Two students from Swansea Medical School and four from Cardiff Medical School, including myself, represented the WMSC and their respective medical schools. Collectively we had three motions to present, two of which were passed and one which unfortunately wasn’t.
The conference started with an emotive and inspiring speech from keynote speaker Cecilia Anim, President of the Royal College of Nursing. She spoke about how she came to be president, the problems facing nurses in the NHS and how doctors can reciprocate the help they were given by nurses in their own contract negotiations and industrial action over the past couple of years.
Before becoming a member of the WMSC, I had no idea what a motion was and how a conference like this worked. Prior to attending conference, all UK Medical Students Committee representatives and members of the Devolved Nations Medical Students Committees submitted motions, which are proposals for change, to be discussed at conference. Motions debated this year touched upon finance, welfare, mental health, curriculum and exams, placement, Brexit, widening participation and equality and diversity, amongst other topics.
Once a motion has been proposed, delegates and MSC representatives can speak either for or against it. When all speakers on the subject have been heard, the voting commences. Based on whether more members of conference vote in favour or against the motion, it passes or falls.
A motion of particular interest to Cardiff called on the BMA to research the number of refugee medical students in the UK and provide support to those students in line with the ‘refugee doctors’ initiative’. In support of this motion, the testimony of a Cardiff medical student was read out. The student moved to Syria as a refugee from Somalia and then had to move to the UK due to the conflict in Syria. In order to continue the medical degree he was doing in Syria, he had to retake his GSCSEs and A-Levels, setting him back 10 years.
Camilla Selous proposed her motion in favour of including compulsory education on how to recognise and report victims of human trafficking, both in medical school and through Royal Colleges, particularly the Royal College of General Practitioners. This motion passed and Camilla won best speaker award at the conference - both for her proposition of this successful motion and her contributions to other important issues.
Swansea’s motion calling on the BMA to ‘lobby UK universities to host events encouraging inter-professional collaboration between medical students and students from allied healthcare courses in order to build relationships and encourage team work from an early stage’ also passed.
Unfortunately, Cardiff’s motion about improving access to medical students taking on Healthcare Support Worker roles fell but was proposed very well by Adanna Anomneze-Collins and encouraged debate.
Beyond motions, there is also a social side to conference. On the Friday evening, the BMA put on a gala dinner for conference delegates. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know and hear the views of medical students from other schools, all over the UK. It’s also worth mentioning that the BMA never fail to serve great food.
The experience inspired Adanna Anomneze-Collins (WMSC first year rep) to run for a place on the 2018 Conference Agenda Committee, with success following her election speech. She will be helping to plan next year’s conference and will support students in writing motions.
I found it an enriching experience and something that has made me want to keep an active role in the WMSC and the BMA, and I would strongly encourage others to get involved and learn about how medical policy and medical school curricula are reviewed and improved.
Given them the opportunity to practice medicine, and they can help address the health care provided shortage AND pay back these loans. It’s a win-win for everyone.
I hope these promising young doctors' careers aren't derailed by Washington gridlock. I am puzzled by one statistic in the article www.writemyessay24h.net/write-my-thesis.php : Of the 32 DACA students at Stritch, most are from Mexico, but 18 are from other countries. How is this possible?