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Adanna is a second year medical student at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine
I was elected as a first year representative for Cardiff University on the BMA Welsh Medical Students Committee (WMSC) in October 2016, and it was a really enjoyable experience. Every term, we would have one or two meetings to discuss the latest issues affecting medical students in Wales and to take forward BMA policy. To give you an idea of the type of topics we discussed, during the first meeting, we were updated on matters such as the necessity of accommodation improvements for medical students on GP placements, ILS training certification and the junior doctors' contract dispute. We also discussed widening participation, Jeremy Hunt’s announcement to expand medical school places and the Welsh Government’s decision to offer new GPs a £20,000 cash incentive.
To keep my year group updated, I posted on our year group’s Facebook page after the meeting. I summarised what had been discussed and encouraged them to contact me or my fellow first year representative, Jennifer Pitt, especially if they had any concerns that would need to be addressed in subsequent meetings. They were reminded of the benefits of being a BMA member and were also invited to check out the BMA Wales Students Facebook page for informative posts. I would strongly recommend that you follow it too if you haven’t already. You can find the page, here.
By December 2016, I had attended a second meeting and the committee was preparing for the BMA’s UK-wide Medical Students Conference. The conference gives UK medical students the opportunity to debate, learn and challenge important issues in medical education and the NHS. We emailed our classmates and posted on Facebook to encourage them to write motions. Eventually, after reading through the several motions that had been received, WMSC submitted their best motions to the Medical Students Conference Agenda Committee.
In January 2017, we had another meeting to update ourselves on the progress of the committee’s work and to discuss any further issues that had arisen. The possibility of a few of us attending the Medical Students Conference was also mentioned. I was keen to represent my university and fortunately, was given the opportunity attend. The conference took place at BMA House in London during the last weekend in April 2017.
Attending conference was an enjoyable, eye-opening experience. I was impressed by all the thoughtful motions medical students had written and was inspired by several speeches. I proposed a motion for Cardiff University about improving access to part-time/summer jobs for medical students as health care assistants. The motion stirred debate, with about four other medical students from around the UK debating for and against. The motion unfortunately fell by just a few votes but I greatly enjoyed the debate and the experience encouraged me to stay involved with the BMA.
On the last day of conference, I was elected as a member of the Medical Students Conference Agenda Committee. I am currently helping to plan the 2018 conference. I will support/advise representatives as they write their motions, answer any queries they may have and review priority motions. I will also help ensure the smooth running of the conference on the day.
Since I am on the agenda committee, I decided not to stand for the WMSC this year. However, I will be liaising with the committee and our Cardiff MSC representatives in preparation for the conference. I appreciate those who have supported me on this journey and I look forward to the academic year ahead.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the committees at the BMA, I recommend that you go for it!
There are still some spaces available for Swansea University second and third year medical students to sit on WMSC for the next session. If you’re interested, please email [email protected] for further information.