14/01/20

AM Calls for Clarification on how Welsh Budget Supports Workforce Planning

A member of the Welsh Assembly has raised the issue of workforce shortages in the Welsh NHS in a debate on the Welsh Government’s Budget.

Angela Burns AM (Conservative, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire), whom Liaison Group has previously met with, said that workforce shortages were “endemic within the health service”. She said the Health Minister was now acting, but in a limited way and said she had no idea how the budget would support the provision of new staff and the drive for healthcare delivery.

She added:

“We are in a crisis. The Royal College of Nursing has outlined that there are severe gaps in the nursing workforce, noting that every week nurses in Wales give the NHS extra hours to the value of 976 full-time nurses. That’s a shocking statistic. NHS Wales spent £63.8 million last year on agency nursing – a substantial rise of 24%. Whilst the Health Minister recently announced more training places for nurses, it’s going to fall well short of what we need and it doesn’t touch on paediatric nurses, district nurses, learning disability nurses, and neither does it touch on the chronic shortage we have in allied healthcare professionals. Given that the entire drive for healthcare delivery in Wales is about community-based services, what we need are more physios, occupational therapists, chronic care managers and the rest of it. I’ve no idea of how this budget is going to support that.

“So, Minister, can you please outline to us how you will ensure the budget supports that workforce planning, and ensures we’re not only recruiting the staff we need today, but also training the appropriate numbers for tomorrow?”

A transcript of the session is available here: https://record.assembly.wales/Plenary/6071#A55156

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