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Welsh Government approves primary care projects worth £3.5m

The Welsh Government has announced £3.5m worth of new spending for a number of primary care projects proposed by health boards.

It has assigned the lion share of the new money, which stems from the Welsh Government’s central budget, on a £2m programme to ‘improve and develop the skills of NHS primary staff’, including GPs.

The Welsh Government said that these would include: medicine management; developing GP skills in cardiology, dermatology and palliative care; nurse led phlebotomy; pharmacists support for nurses and GPs; advanced nurse practice; improving access to primary care and pulmonary disease, including bronchitis and emphysema; and rehabilitation in community settings closer to people’s homes.

In addition the Workforce Education Development Service will get £300,000 ‘to develop a multi-disciplinary primary care workforce, which makes more effective use of GPs’ time and expertise’. The Welsh Government said the funding will help train more advanced nurses, therapists and clinical pharmacists to work in primary care to support GPs.

Other uses for the money include university-led studies to identify people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (£300,000) and £600,000 to develop local eye services.

Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘These schemes will improve the quality of service provided by GPs, nurses, pharmacists and therapists to patients. Improving local, targeted services will help reduce the inequalities in health and tackle poverty, both of which are key Welsh Government priorities and are linked to poor health.

‘This new funding will help realise our ambition to create a strong, highly-trained primary care workforce, which can deliver a wide-range of services in local communities, reducing our dependence on hospital-based care.’

The Scottish Government meanwhile announced a £40m spending boost for targeted primary care development.

Please note – this was changed at 9:30 on 6 November to reflect that it was a £3.5m investment, not £3.5bn