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Analysis

Wales adopts safe staffing laws while the rest of the UK watches

A law requiring health boards to provide sufficient numbers of nurses in medical and surgical wards will soon take effect in Wales, and Scotland is planning to follow suit, but there is no indication that England and Northern Ireland will have similar legislation

A law requiring health boards to provide sufficient numbers of nurses in medical and surgical wards will soon take effect in Wales, and Scotland is planning to follow suit, but there is no indication that England and Northern Ireland will have similar legislation

  • Safe staffing on wards is linked to reduced mortality
  • Welsh law will be extended to mental health, district nursing, paediatrics and care homes
  • It has enabled health boards to highlight areas where staffing needs to be reviewed

Picture: Pete Coburn

A law on safe nurse staffing levels in adult acute medical and surgical inpatient wards comes into force in Wales on 6 April.

The Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act, the first law of its kind in Europe, places responsibility on health boards to calculate and provide sufficient numbers of nurses to care ‘sensitively’ for patients.

Joanna

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