Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
On 10 May 2018 I issued a written statement to launch a 12 week formal consultation about the future arrangements for supporting heath care students.
At that time I repeated my view that it is important to ensure the investment we make in healthcare education and training provides the right type of support to encourage individuals to consider healthcare as a career and to do this, the support arrangements must address the issues students identify as barriers to studying. I have been clear that future support arrangements for students studying health care related programmes must be considered alongside the changes made within the wider student support system.
The consultation provided an opportunity to capture comments, observations and ideas from a wide range of individuals and organisations. Not surprisingly, the majority of respondents agreed that support to those studying health care related programmes should continue.
Building on from the consultation last summer, I believe it would be beneficial to undertake further engagement with stakeholders on the top four options that emerged from the consultation. Engaging on these options would allow us to build on the 80 responses received to the consultation, whilst taking into consideration the new financial support, as a result of the Diamond Review, available through Student Finance Wales.
On this basis the existing NHS Wales Bursary scheme will remain in place for individuals electing to study an eligible health care related programme in Wales commencing in the academic year 2020/2021. This means, in Wales the full bursary package will continue to be available for those who commit in advance to work in Wales for up to 2 years post qualification. This extension will enable engagement to take place over July/August this year, which will allow me to make fully informed decisions about the future arrangements for the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme.
I will of course keep members updated on future developments.