Will the Minister expand on any obstacles that prevent the Minister from introducing annual quotas for ensuring training through the medium of Welsh for those who are training to be part of the medical workforce, along with any legal or policy changes that would be required in order to overcome those obstacles?
I refer to my previous response to WAQ79301. The setting of quotas or any form of preferential treatment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. The Welsh language is not listed as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, however giving preference to it could indirectly discriminate on the grounds of race.
HEIs in Wales are independent, autonomous bodies and the Welsh Ministers are prevented by statute from interfering in matters relating to admissions. However, we have been working with Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools, to identify how we can encourage more Welsh students to consider medicine as a career, increase opportunities for those who wish to do so to study in Wales and to identify and overcome any barriers that might prevent them from doing so. In addition, Cardiff and Bangor Universities have formed a collaboration to allow the direct delivery of medical education in Bangor University.