THE Welsh Government has pledged to increase the number of university places for medical students in Wales.

The move follows a rise in the number of successful applications to study medicine and healthcare courses this year.

This academic year, 25 additional places will be granted for students at the Cardiff University School of Medicine.

That will be followed by an additional 12 next year.

Education minister Kirsty Williams said the additional places "will contribute so much to our nation's health and well-being over the coming years".

Vaughan Gething, the health minister for Wales, said: "The coronavirus has put additional strain on our NHS and healthcare sector this year and we expect to see the impact of the virus on the whole of the health and care system over the coming years.

"So supporting even more students to enrol on medicine and healthcare courses this year, here in Wales, is the best thing to do to help us meet our health and care needs now and into the future."

Professor Stephen Riley, who heads the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, said: "It is excellent news that Welsh Government are showing their support for the medical students who have been affected by this year's A level results situation.

"Cardiff University is now able to provide places for all those who had fulfilled the terms of their confirmed offer over the next two years. We will work hard with our NHS partners within Wales to provide them with excellent clinical training. Hopefully they will choose to remain within Wales to be our doctors of the future."