Healthcare training backed by £82m from Welsh Government

Image caption Health minister Lesley Griffiths says high quality healthcare education is critical for the health service.

The Welsh government says it is investing more than £82m in training healthcare professionals to maintain services.

The funding is based on what the NHS estimates it will need to maintain services from 2016 onwards.

It covers professionals such as nurses, midwives, radiographers, paramedics and pharmacists.

Last week health boards in mid, west and north Wales announced a shake-up of services.

Health minister Lesley Griffiths said: "High quality healthcare education is critical to support the delivery of health services in Wales both now and in the future."

2016 onwards

Wales continued to have some of the lowest student drop-out rates in the UK, and there has also been a "significant increase" in NHS Wales staff over the last decade.

"The extra nurses demonstrate our commitment to support young children living in disadvantaged areas by supporting an enhanced health visiting service," she added.

The health service estimates of how many staff it needs to maintain services from 2016 onwards is based on a number of factors including the age profile of staff, the number of people currently working and in training, and the course attrition rate.

Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales welcomed the increase in student numbers.

"We know that there has been an increase in mental health and learning disability places and the number of children's nursing places is set to increase also," she said.

"In 2011, we saw a 35% cut in the number of children's nursing places.

"In light of concerns raised by the Health & Social Care committee's report which highlighted shortages of neonatal nurses in Wales the RCN is delighted that the Welsh government has increased training places for children's nursing."

Last week the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Hywel Dda Health Board announced the latest on their health shake-up plans.

Hospitals at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Flint, Llangollen and Prestatyn will see services switched to 10 other locations after Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board confirmed their closures.

The board also announced it will move specialist intensive care for babies to England.

But is has decided not to stop x-ray services at Caernarfon and Pwllheli.

Hywel Dda Health Board has so far approved the closure of Mynydd Mawr Community Hospital in Tumble and the closure of minor injury units at Tenby and South Pembrokeshire hospitals.

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