The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly member for South Wales West, Peter Black joined Brecon and Radnorshire AM, Kirsty Williams and his party’s candidate for Swansea East, Amina Jamal yesterday in a consultation session with nurses in Morriston hospital on Kirsty’s private members bill which seeks to introduce minimum nurse staffing levels in Welsh hospitals.
Kirsty’s Bill aims to enshrine minimum nurse patient ratios in law, so as to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of staff within our health service to provide safe care at all times.
Commenting on the meeting, Mr. Black said: “Both Kirsty and I were pleased at the positive response to her bill amongst nursing staff. What is evident is that many feel under constant pressure due to the under-resourcing of wards and although things are improving they feel that a statutory minimum level of staffing will help enormously.
“The RCN tell us that nurses in Wales have more patients to care for than any other part of the UK, with an average of 10.5 patients per nurse compared to 8.5 in England or 7.2 in Northern Ireland.
“There is increasing evidence from across the world that nurse staffing levels have a significant impact on patient care and the recruitment and retention of staff. Nurses who have fewer patients to tend are able to spend a greater amount of time with each patient and as a result can provide better care.
“If they are more easily able to identify potential problems with a patient's care, then they are able to play a preventative, rather than a simply reactive, role and consequently reduce the level of treatment needed and the cost of this care to the NHS.”
Note: Kirsty William’s nurse staffing bill is due to be introduced in the Senedd in the autumn, after which it will be referred to the Health and Social Services Committee for formal consultation and scrutiny.
An pre-introduction consultation on the bill is being conducted by Kirsty and can be found at http://senedd.assemblywales.org/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=143. This consultation closes on 12 September.