The number of nurse training places will increase by 10% in 2016-17 as part of an £85m investment package by the Welsh Government in the next generation of healthcare professionals, the Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
Nurse training places will rise by 135 in 2016-17 to 1,418, an increase of 10%, on top of the 22% increase in 2015-16. This will be the highest level of nurse training places in Wales since devolution.
The £85m investment package also includes:
- An increase of more than 10% in physiotherapy training places, on top of the 26% increase in 2015-16
- An increase of more than 10% in diagnostic radiography training places, on top of the 26% in 2015-16 and a 5% rise in therapeutic radiographers
- Last year the Welsh Government increased the number of places available for clinical scientists by 52% and this year will be expanding investment in healthcare science programmes, including additional training places in genomics, medical physics, biomedical engineering, molecular pathology, bioinformatics, microbiology and lab genetics
- Investment to support the development of healthcare support workers will increase to £1.5m. This will help people gain the right knowledge and skills to deliver care and support career development
- The package of funding will enable 2,697 new students to undertake education and training programmes in 2016-17 compared to 2,498 in 2015-16. Including those who will be continuing their education this means the total number of students and training places for 2016-17 is 7,384 compared to 6,881 in 2015-16.
As well as training new entrants, this investment will fund training opportunities for existing staff to build their skills and ensure opportunities exist for individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have taken a break from their careers.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Highly-trained staff are the heart of the Welsh NHS – this £85m investment will go towards developing the next generation who will provide healthcare to the nation.
“This includes the highest level of nurse training places since devolution and extra training places in key professional areas, including diagnostic radiography and physiotherapy.
“This investment is based on what NHS organisations have told us they need to maintain services. Despite the financial pressures faced during in recent years we have continued to invest in education and training for health professionals in Wales. This year is no exception.”
The number of people directly employed by NHS Wales now stands at 84,000, an increase of a third since 1999.