UK Medical Careers Conference a success despite adverse weather


Following months of preparation by the Deanery's Careers team, the UK Medical Careers Conference went ahead despite the inclement weather.

By the time Deanery staff were gathering at City Hall in Cardiff early on St David's Day, there had already been a significant amount of snowfall and the Met Office had issued a red warning for the South Wales region. A number of attendees, including some of the keynote speakers, had already passed on their apologies the previous day, as heavy snow fell in parts of the UK. A full day's conference had originally been planned, but in view of the weather forecast, a decision was made to shorten the day to enable delegates to return home safely.

By 9am a steady flow of people was arriving to register for the event, and when the conference began an hour later, around 60 people were seated in the impressive Assembly Room. Sally Blake, the Deanery's Careers Team Development Manager, gave an opening speech, welcoming delegates to the conference, and thanking them for braving the weather conditions. This was followed by a series of presentations including Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, who stressed the importance of the workforce in the future of the NHS, and of Wales continuing to be outward looking. All keynote speakers' presentations were recorded so that they could be viewed by those unable to attend the event.

As well as the many and varied presentations, organisations were represented by the numerous stands and posters displayed in the Assembly Room. Dr Ian Collings (pictured above with Vaughan Gething), Deputy Dean at the Wales Deanery, commented, "I'm very much enjoying judging the posters at the UK Medical Careers Conference with Anton Saayman. There is much good quality exciting careers work going on."

Biographies of the keynote speakers: 

Ken Leach

Ken Leach is Education Policy Researcher in the Education and Standards Directorate at the General Medical Council and is based in Manchester. He predominantly works on reporting findings from the national training surveys, which ask over 100,000 doctors across the UK each year for their opinion on their training environments.

Ken has a Master’s degree in Social Research from the University of York and is currently working towards a part-time PhD on National Wellbeing. He previously worked at the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice.

Professor David Wilson

Professor David Wilson is currently the Director of Admissions and Chair of the Admissions Group in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University. He has taught medical students for over 30 years and is a professor of medical education.

Prior to his appointment to Cardiff University almost 10 years ago, David was Head of Anatomy, then Director of the Division of Biomedical Sciences, in the Medical School in the Queen’s University of Belfast.

Professor Chris Jones

Professor Chris Jones is Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) for Wales, having joined the Welsh Government as Medical Director, NHS Wales, in June 2010. Chris is also Specialty Lead for Health Services Research in Wales and Honorary Professor at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University. Previously Chris was Medical Director of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and before that Consultant Physician and Cardiologist at the Princess of Wales Hospital Bridgend.

Chris qualified in medicine in London in 1981 and undertook clinical and research training in London, Cardiff and the USA. He was appointed as the first Consultant Cardiologist in Bridgend in 1994 and went on to lead the development of a high performing clinical cardiology service over the next 15 years. During this time he also spent 4 years as a Senior Lecturer in Cardiology at Cardiff University and has published over 80 original peer review papers.

Chris’ career in medical management started in 2003 when he became an Associate Board Member of the Bridgend Local Health Board and also Deputy Medical Director of Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust. He subsequently worked there as Clinical Director of Medicine and then Associate Medical Director of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust before moving to Cardiff.

As DCMO, Chris supports work to improve the health and well-being of the population and the development of health care services that provide high value to patients in terms of outcome and experience. Wales is following a path to integrated services for populations with increased emphasis on public health and community care.

Dr Tom Yapp

Dr Tom Yapp is a Gastroenterologist at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend and has also been the Associate Dean for Foundation in the Wales Deanery since 2007.

Tom's educational interests are in near peer learning and the transition from student to doctor, and he has worked closely with the Schools of Medicine in Cardiff and Swansea on the Harmonisation project. Tom’s emphasis is on learning rather than teaching and he has worked with Foundation doctors to develop a programme of peer and near peer education.

Professor Clare McKenzie

Professor Clare McKenzie is the Postgraduate Dean for NHS Education for Scotland East Region, and is based in Dundee. She is lead Dean for Foundation and Diagnostics specialties in Scotland and co-chairs the UK Foundation Programme

Clare is immediate past Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, with responsibility for education, and is an honorary professor with the University of Dundee in relation to contribution to postgraduate medical education. Her main areas of interest are trainee support and development.

Trevor Lambert

Project Director MCRG

Trevor Lambert is a research lecturer in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford. His first degree was in statistics and his Master’s degree in computer science, both from the University of Birmingham. After working initially for Birmingham University for several years as a computer officer supporting users of statistical software, in 1978 Trevor joined the Numerical Algorithms Group in Oxford where he held a series of technical and senior management roles until 1990. He then spent three years at the Open University as a statistical consultant advising postgraduate researchers on experimental design. 

In 1993 he joined Oxford University’s Unit of Health Care Epidemiology in the then Department of Public Health and Primary Care. He now directs the UK Medical Careers Research Group, a UK-wide series of cohort studies that track the career choices, progression and views of over 60,000 doctors in qualification years ranging from 1974 to 2015. The work includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis and enables career-long profiles of doctors to be constructed and analysed.

Clare Owen

Clare Owen is a Policy Adviser at the Medical Schools Council in the UK.

Before taking up this post, Clare was a Policy Manager at the GMC focusing on student fitness to practise and support. Clare led the Selecting for Excellence project looking at selection and widening participation in UK medical schools. She now leads the implementation of this work for MSC.

Vaughan Gething

Vaughan Gething was born in Zambia and brought up in Dorset. He was educated at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities, and is married to Michelle. Vaughan is a largely retired cricketer and a fan of both rugby and football.

Vaughan was a solicitor and former partner at Thompsons. He is a member of the GMB, UNISON and Unite unions, and was the youngest ever President of the TUC in Wales. He has previously served as a county councillor and school governor. He has also been a community service volunteer – supporting and caring for a student with cerebral palsy, and is former president of NUS Wales.

Between 1999 and 2001, Vaughan worked as a researcher to former AMs Val Feld and Lorraine Barrett. Between 2001 and 2003, Vaughan was the chair of Right to Vote – a cross-party project to encourage greater participation from black minority ethnic communities in Wales. He is also a member of the Co-operative Party.

In June 2013 Vaughan was appointed Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty, and in September 2014, he was appointed Deputy Minister for Health. In May 2016 Vaughan was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport.

Professor Namita Kumar 

MBChB MD MMEd FRCP FAcadMEd, Postgraduate Dean and Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist.

After qualifying as a doctor from Liverpool University, Professor Kumar moved to the North East of England after completing her house officer year. In the North East she completed her medical training, obtaining her post as a Consultant Rheumatologist and Physician in 2006, in which she continues.

Involvement in Medical Education began in 1997 with activities including RCP (London) Trainees' Committee, Education, Training and Standards Board, and as a written examiner as part of the MRCP (UK) Standard Setting Group. In 2003 she was appointed board member of the Postgraduate Medical and Education Training Board by the Secretary of State for Health, and asked to complete two further terms. After the merger of PMETB with the GMC in 2010, Professor Kumar was appointed Foundation School Director for the Northern Deanery. In 2013 she was appointed to the post of Postgraduate Dean for Health Education North East. She was made an Honorary Clinical Professor by Durham University in 2014, and Newcastle University and University of Central Lancashire, both in 2017.She has been a council member of the Academy of Medical Educators since 2014, and elected to Council of the Royal College of Physicians in 2017.


Wales Deanery will be jointly hosting the annual Careers Conference at City Hall, Cardiff, on Thursday 1st March 2018.

150 delegates have registered for the event, including medical students, trainee doctors, consultants, Foundation Programme / Training Programme Directors, Postgraduate Centre staff, University and LETB Careers Advisers and representatives from organisations such as Health Education & Improvement Wales (HEIW), Health Education England, UKFPO, and NHS Careers (England and Wales).

Sally Blake, Development Manager of the Deanery's Careers team, said, "This will be the first time the conference has been hosted in Wales, appropriately on St David's Day, and includes a full programme of plenary keynote presentations, small group workshops, a poster display/competition, and stands hosted by a range of organisations related to medical career development. CPD points will also be available."

Although the event is fully booked, a waiting list is available and enquiries can be directed to Updates can be added to and viewed on Twitter using the hashtag #walesmedcareers.

Check back to this blog for further updates including speaker biographies.

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