Pharmacy technician training places in Wales will increase by 66.7% thanks to an 8% rise in the NHS Wales training budget, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has announced today (18 January).

The Welsh Government has approved the Health Education and Improvement Wales’ (HEIW)’s Education and Training Plan 2023-24 for NHS Wales, backed by a record £281m investment package.

This is the ninth consecutive year that health professional education and training budgets will have increased in Wales.

The plan will support 527 extra training places for a range of NHS professionals, including 20 pharmacy technicians, described by Ms Morgan as 'the backbone of our health service.'

The plan will see pharmacy technician training places increase from 30 to 50 - representing a 66.7% increase - as well as creating 378 additional training places for nurses.

Training places will also be increased for midwives, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and paramedics.

'Despite the inflationary pressures on our budget, we are committed to investing in the NHS workforce in Wales,' Ms Morgan said.

'I am delighted to increase training places once again for nurses and the many other health professions, which are the backbone of our health service.

'A well-trained NHS workforce with the right skills is essential to providing sustainable high-quality care to people across Wales and improving standards in our health service.'

Ms Morgan said these additional training places 'will deliver a workforce which can respond to the challenges of the future,' and highlighted that 'the Welsh NHS currently has more people working in it than at any time in its history, focusing on prevention and care across every community.'

Lisa Llewelyn, director of nurse and health professional education at HEIW, says this plan has been developed in collaboration with key stakeholders from the NHS in Wales and will support current and future workforce numbers.

'Building on growth from previous years, the additional education and training places will mean increased numbers of a range of qualified healthcare professionals being available to deliver quality care to our population and work in Wales in a range of roles and locations,' she said.