The Royal College of Nursing has welcomed proposals to increase both current and future funding for health services in Wales.
“Protecting the NHS” was among the key aims set out yesterday by the Welsh government for its spending priorities for 2014-15.
Schools, economic growth, creating jobs, tackling poverty and protecting the vulnerable made up the other priorities announced by Welsh finance minister Jane Hutt.
Ms Hutt presented the government’s draft budget for 2014-15 to the Welsh Assembly yesterday.
She announced an increase in the health budget with a three year package of £570m for the NHS, including an additional £150m in the current 2013-14 financial year.
The funding, she said, would provide the Welsh NHS with the resources it needs to respond to the challenges it faced as well as the Francis report into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
She noted that £65.5m would form an immediate investment in projects such as the final phase of the Children’s Hospital for Wales, while an additional £9.5m would be spent on health technology and telemedicine.
Ms Hutt also announced a new £50m intermediate care fund to drive integration of health, social services and housing.
Total spending on the NHS in Wales will rise from £5.7bn to £5.9bn next year, an increase of 3.58% in cash terms or 1.68% in real terms.
Ms Hutt, who served as the assembly’s health minister from 1999 to 2005, said: “In this budget we have been clear about our priorities for Wales and those areas that we believe need protecting – health, schools and universal benefits.”
The Royal College of Nursing welcomed the draft budget allocations.
RCN Wales interim director Martin Semple said: “The RCN is pleased that the government has been listening to the concerns of those representing the health services, including nurses.
“Despite this extra funding, these remain challenging times for health care in Wales. Nurses in Wales have consistently embraced change, displayed a commitment to modernisation and worked tirelessly to ensure that patients are treated at all times with professional expertise and dignity.”
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