The Welsh Government has announced a £95 million package to boost training and education opportunities for healthcare professionals in Wales. 

The funding, which aims to support staff across a range of specialisms – from nurses to radiographers, comes amid more reports of cuts and funding deficits at NHS trusts in England. 

Wales’ Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, says the investment will boost health science training opportunities and enable at least 3,000 new students to join healthcare education programmes across the country. 

It follows a report by university applications body UCAS that the number of Welsh students applying to study medicine has fallen by 15 per cent in the last five years, with only 570 students from Wales applying to study medicine last year. 

The Welsh Government package will also provide £500,000 to support community healthcare, including funding for services that endeavour to treat more patients closer to home rather than at hospital. 

Thompsons Solicitors has long advocated investment in frontline NHS staff and welcomed the news, as reports of a crisis in England’s healthcare service continue to gather pace. 

“There is no doubt news of this investment will give Wales’ NHS staff a much-needed morale boost at a time when many staff maybe feeling undervalued,” said Madeleine Pinschof, a senior medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors.  

Recent reports of cuts and scale-backs in nearly two-thirds of England’s hospital services, she added, along with repeated stories this winter of unsafe patient numbers on wards and of a significant NHS trust funding deficit, have been extremely concerning for both patient safety and frontline staff. 

“All good employers know investing in staff education and training is key to a happy and sustainable workforce,” said Ms Pinschof. 

“But while the investment promised in the Welsh NHS is welcome, the UK Government needs to start listening to professionals on the frontline and committing to the funding across the UK they say is needed to relieve the strain on hospital wards and community services, otherwise mistakes will happen and lives remain at risk.”