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8th February 2016

Safe Nurse Staffing Levels Bill passed by National Assembly

Assembly Members have passed the Safe Nursing Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill to make sure hospitals have safe levels of nurses on duty at all times.

The Bill, passed by AMs on February 4, aims to ensure that nurse staffing levels within the Welsh NHS are sufficient to provide “safe, effective and quality nursing care to patients at all times”.

Meanwhile the Welsh Government also announceed that funding for nurse training places will increase by 10% - an extra 135 - in a £85m Welsh government package. Extra training places for physiotherapists and radiographers is also included.

The Bill also aims to improve working conditions for nursing and other staff and to strengthen accountability for the "safety, quality and efficacy of workforce
planning and management".

CFW policy adviser, Melanie Minty, said: "CFW gave evidence to the National Assembly in which we flagged up concerns that the bill may have the unintended consequence of adding to recruitment problems in the independent sector. We are pleased to see that the redrafted bill provides Welsh Government with powers to extend the provisions to other sectors and we will maintain a close eye on the situation to ensure that care homes are not disadvantaged. In the meantime, we are continuing to work with Welsh Government in looking at solutions to the current nursing shortage. "

Tina Donnelly, director of RCN Wales, said: “This law will protect patients in Wales and will empower registered nurses to postitivly influench staffing decisions in our hospitals.”

Liberal Democrat leader, Kirsty Williams, who introduced the bill in 2014 said: "The logic is simple: more nurses on our wards means each nurse can spend more time with each patient, ensuring better care as a result.

"More staff nurses means health boards won't have to fork out for expensive agency nurses, saving our NHS money in the long run."

The bill is now awaiting Royal Assent before it becomes law.

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