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31st July 2015

Call for more nurses to be trained – RCN director

The director of the Royal College of Nursing Wales has said that not enough nurses are being trained to meet healthcare needs in Wales.

The call by Tina Donnelly came after Welsh Government figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives, revealed that health boards have spent more than £190m on agency staff during the last four years.

All of the health boards said they have found recruiting new doctors and nurses difficult and social care providers have been highlighting difficulties in recruiting nurses for some time.

The figures show that:

  • Total health board expenditure on non-contracted hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, in Wales increased from £40m in 2011/12 to more than £71m in 2014/15
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spent the most each year with 2014/15 reaching almost £30m, double what it spent in 2011/12
  • Over the same period the Powys Teaching Health Board, the smallest in Wales, saw its bill for agency staff increase from £170,000 to £635,000

RCN Wales director, Ms Donnelly, said: "We have not been training sufficient nurses over the last number of years to meet the demands of the health care agenda so we do have to look at the workforce planning."

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We expect health boards and NHS trusts to address agency and locum spend via a number of different ways, however we must recognise that agency staff play an important role in the Welsh NHS.

"The figures in this FOI represent a small percentage of the £6.7bn budget we spend on health and social services in Wales every year."

Read more on this story

BBC News: Not enough nurses being trained, says Welsh RCN chief

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