Mr. Black, who is a member of Swansea University’s ruling Council, is angry that failures by University authorities to fill key posts on the medical course in time has led to the General Medical Council questioning the robustness of the course and forced the transfer of the students to Cardiff.
Mr. Black has met with some of the students concerned and with the senior members of the Swansea Medical School in the last few weeks in an effort to avert the transfer, which will also involve the loss of significant sums of revenue to Swansea University. The students’ tuition fee income will be transferred with them to Cardiff. He has also discussed the matter with the Health Minister.
“My main concern throughout this process has been the welfare of the students and the impact of this move on their studies,” said Mr. Black. “A transfer of this kind will inevitably involve them in some considerable expense. They are based in Swansea, and have accommodation and placements here. Going to Cardiff for lectures and other academic events will mean they will have to find money for transport and possibly accommodation as well, over and above what they are paying out now.
“I am particularly annoyed because when the College Council met last week we were given the clear impression that this could be sorted out and that the University had until May to get the course into shape. And yet the next day I was made aware that a decision had been taken to transfer the students to Cardiff.
“The University authorities need to answer questions as to why appointments were made so late so as to not allow enough time to secure a proper succession after the two leading academics took retirement. I understand that it is these late appointments that have led to so much concern from the General Medical Council.
“I think that it is actually quite embarrassing for the University to have had to move the first cohort of students on this new course in this way. There is now an urgent need to get things right for 2012 or the Medical School’s reputation will suffer. It appears to me that there has been a failure of leadership at the top of the University, who at the very least took their eye off the ball.
“We should be grateful that Cardiff was able to step in and accommodate the students so that they can finish their course but that does not take away from the fact that Swansea University has badly let them down. They now need to be doing everything they can to alleviate the problems that this failure has caused for these students.”