By Daniel Hunter

An £80m investment by the Welsh Government will increase training places for the next generation of healthcare professionals by 16% next year, Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford, announced yesterday (Wednesday February 11).

The number of nurses being trained in 2015-16 will increase by more than a fifth (22%), while the number of paramedic places available will increase by 161% compared to the 2014-15 academic year.

The £80m will also support the education and training of a range of other healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists. The number of training places funded is based on plans developed by health boards and NHS trusts in Wales and has been discussed with healthcare unions and representatives.

The £80m for the 2015-16 academic year will support 2,498 new students to undertake an education programme and continue the education of 6,881 students in training.

Professor Drakeford said:

“We are creating extra training and education places in 2015-16 to increase the next generation of health professionals to meet the needs of patients across Wales. This £80m investment is based on what NHS organisations have told us they need to maintain services in the future.

"Sustainable healthcare requires a highly-skilled and flexible workforce, which is agile enough to respond to the many challenges the NHS faces but rooted in the traditions of the health service - compassionate, patient centred, free at the point of delivery and universally available.”