Lib Dems pledge to widen scope of Wales nurse staffing law

Law on nurse staffing in acute hospital wards comes into effect in Wales

Liberal Democrats in Wales want to see a new law mandating nurse staffing on acute wards widened to include maternity, mental health wards and the community.

Wales is the first European country with a legal duty to have sufficient nurse staffing levels on acute hospital wards, with the law coming into force yesterday. It had been pushed through the assembly by Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams. 

The Lib Dems say extending the law to other care settings is their top NHS promise for the Welsh Assembly elections in May.

Ms Williams said: 'We all want NHS staff to have the time to care for our loved ones, which is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats will deliver safe staffing levels across the NHS.’

The law states that health boards in Wales must provide sufficient nurses to ‘allow the nurses time to care for patients sensitively’.

A nurse staffing levels report must be submitted to ministers each month stating the extent to which staff levels have been maintained, and the effects when this is not the case.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: ‘We have just announced a 10% increase in nurse training places for 2016-17, on top of the 22% increase in 2015-16. This will undoubtedly help meet the duties set out in the bill.’


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