Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
Each and every day the NHS supports the people of Wales, by both encouraging healthy lifestyles to prevent ill health and treating people when they fall ill. New technologies, an ageing population and advances in the way conditions can be effectively managed add to the complexity of caring for individuals. The sustainability of these services relies on the skills, knowledge and experience of those providing the care, whether they are providing direct patient care or working in less well recognised roles providing vital support services such as individuals working in the laboratories, who carry out a range of tests each year to enable diagnoses to be made and treatment to be provided.
I am today announcing an £95m package to support a range of education and training programmes for healthcare professionals, including nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers and a range of health science training opportunities. This represents a £10m increase on the package agreed for 2016/17 and will enable more than 3000 new students to join those already studying healthcare education programmes across Wales. The total number of people in training and training places for 2017-18 will be 8,573 compared to 7,384 in 2016-17.
This package includes more than a 13% increase in the number of nurse training places – an extra 192 – which will be commissioned in 2017-18. This is in addition to the 10% increase in 2016-17 and the 22% increase in 2015-16 and continues our investment in nurse education numbers. It also includes an increase of more than 40% in midwifery training places,
There are many challenges facing the NHS including the need to ensure patients can be cared for as close to their home as possible, this means a greater degree of care being taken forward within the community through primary care clusters working collaboratively with the hospital sector. This package of support will provide an additional £500k to support general practice to take advantage of advanced practice and extended skills training and education. It also offers a significant increase in practice nurse and district nurse education. Investment will also be made in training places to underpin the development of audiology services within primary and community settings.
A new approach to pharmacy training and education will be taken forward building on a pilot to bring together the hospital and community based programmes into one integrated pre registration programme.
We will maintain the level of investment in healthcare support workers at £1.5m, with £250k allocated to support general practice in this area.
We are continuing our investment in healthcare science programmes, including in key areas for development such as genomics, while continuing to support areas such as paramedicine as it expands the role it plays in society across a range of settings.
In addition we will be making a further cohort of physician associate training places available from September 2017 with 12 of these places hosted by Bangor University and 20 hosted by Swansea University.