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“Patients’ needs will be put first” insists Cardiff’s new Dean of Medicine

02 January 2014

The new Head of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine has vowed to put the ‘needs of patients’ first as he takes up the reins at Wales’ oldest medical school.   Professor John Bligh, a former North Wales GP and leading UK figure in medical education, has been appointed as Cardiff University’s new Dean of Medicine. As Dean, Professor Bligh will lead a team of some of the world’s leading scientists and clinicians responsible for training Wales’ doctors of the future.

"Cardiff University’s School of Medicine works to improve the health of the people of Wales and beyond through local partnerships, combined with leadership and innovation in patient care, education and research.

"As the new Dean of Medicine, I want to ensure the main purpose of this medical school continues to be to serve society by understanding the causes of disease, discovering new treatments and training the next generation of doctors.  

"I’ll work to ensure that everything we do focuses on the needs of patients, first and foremost," he added.

Professor Bligh has been Dean of Medical Education at Cardiff University for the last four years and has overseen the complete overhaul of medical teaching and learning. The aim has been to lay greater stress on clinical relevance and produce students who emerge from medical school properly prepared to make the transition into safe, skilled and caring clinicians.

Professor Bligh adds: "We’re already investing in the future: by training young doctors who are prepared to serve and lead healthcare though the challenges and uncertainties that they will face throughout a lifetime of practice, we are working to ensure that the patients of the future will be in safe hands."

As he starts his first official week in post, he is under no illusion as to the size of the task that he faces with the many changes, challenges and the financial constraints the NHS in Wales and the rest of the UK faces.   "Things are tough in both higher education and the health service as we strive to make ends meet in a difficult financial climate.  I am committed to ensuring that the people of Wales get maximum value for money from their leading medical school without compromising on standards of education, research and public service.     "As new technologies and scientific advances continue to be made, Cardiff will be at the forefront, leading research that really makes a difference to peoples’ lives.  We’re already at the cutting edge of research into genomics and the genetics of disease, we’re working to discover new ways of identifying and treating conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, and we’re developing new drugs and interventions that will really make a difference to generations to come.     "We know that certain diseases such as chest problems and diseases caused by smoking and obesity are a particular problem in parts of Wales and our programme of research will continue to focus on issues that affect our communities."



To arrange an interview with Professor Bligh, please contact

Chris Jones Public Relations Cardiff University Tel: 029 20 874731 E-mail:


Professor Bligh joined Cardiff University’s School of Medicine in 2010 from Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry where he was Professor of Clinical Education, Vice Dean, and Director of the Institute of Clinical Education. Professor Bligh is a former North Wales GP and one of the UK’s leading figures in medical education and training.

He led an expert Advisory Panel on assessment and selection for the Tooke Inquiry into Modern Medical Careers (MMC) and represented medical education research on the 2008 HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise.

He was also Editor in Chief of Medical Education between 1997 and 2005.

He is a former International Fellow for Saudi Arabia for the Royal College of General Practitioners, helping to establish a postgraduate training programme for the Ministry of Health within the Kingdom.

He became Senior Lecturer in Medical Education and Director of the University Medical Education Unit at the University of Liverpool in 1993, during which time he was a member of the foundation staff at the International Medical College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In 1995 he was appointed Professor of Primary Care Education at the University of Liverpool, and subsequently Professor of Medical Education. He was head of the Department of Health Care Education from 1995 to 2001 when he joined the foundation staff of Peninsula Medical School as Associate Dean (Education).

He was the first elected President of the Academy of Medical Educators in 2008 and has been awarded both the Gold Medal of the Academy of Medical Educators and the Silver Medal of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities.  Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans.  Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff's three flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places.