Peter Black backs calls for minimum nursing levels to be introduced for Welsh hospitals

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has backed a private members bill from Brecon and Radnorshire Assembly Member, Kirsty Williams

Speaking in the Senedd today, Mr. Black referred to a meeting with nurses in Princess of Wales Hospital last week in which he learned of the day to day pressures being faced by staff as a result of inadequate cover.

Staff told him that often they were required to work ten hour shifts without having time for a comfort break or to eat, that the paperwork involved in admitting a patient could take an hour to complete and that there is little or no time for continuous professional development.

"There is increasing evidence that under-staffed wards put unreasonable pressure on medical staff and that this can lead to mistakes or important tasks remaining undone," said Mr, Black. "This pressure, together with the physical demands of the job can lead to high levels of sick and absence and this increases the strain nurses are put under.

"I was pleased to learn that many of the issues raised by nurses are starting to be addressed in Princess of Wales Hospital. It is not always the number of nurses that matter but the skills mix, so that inexperienced staff are complemented and mentored by more seasoned nurses.

"I believe that following the example of other countries and addressing Wales' poor ratio of nurses to beds by legislation will help to ensure a higher quality of care for patients and address some of the issues that have arisen in Welsh hospitals recently. I am happy to support the principle of Kirsty Williams' bill so that it can go forward for further consideration."

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