Front-line staff numbers on the rise in Wales
The Welsh Government has announced record numbers of NHS front-line staff working in Wales – yet the number of nurses, midwives and health visitors went up by only 0.6%.
Figures from September 2016 to September 2017 show the number of full time equivalent (FTE) nurses, midwives and health was 22,612, up 134 (0.6%) from 22,479 in 2016.
In comparison, the number of FTE hospital consultants was 2,466, up by 97 (4.1%) from 2,369 in 2016.
While, the number of FTE scientific, therapeutic and technical staff was 12,799 – up by 370 (3.0%) from 12,429 since 2016.
The statistics show that there are now more than 90,000 people employed by the NHS in Wales, up 1,880 since 2016.
Word of caution
RCN Wales associate director Helen Whyley said: 'The RCN in Wales broadly welcomes Welsh Government’s announcement that there are currently more staff than ever employed by the NHS in Wales, but would urge caution that this needs to be an increasing trend over the coming years.
‘In order to ensure nursing remains an attractive profession it is vital that the bursary remains in place.
‘It is the RCN in Wales’ firm belief that many are leaving the profession because of the stress of working in under-resourced and under-staffed conditions.’
The nursing bursary has been axed in England, but continues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said the government would be making an announcement about nursing bursaries in the next few weeks.
Health secretary Vaughan Gething praised the ‘record numbers of NHS Wales staff’.
He said: ‘The good progress we’ve made around staffing is a positive, but we recognise there’s always more work to be done. That’s why we’re investing in the education and training of healthcare professionals in the Welsh NHS, ensuring we develop the workforce of the future.’
The Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act has made Wales the first country in Europe to make it a legal requirement to have sufficient nurses on duty on every single shift.
It is to be introduced in adult acute medical and surgical wards by 6 April this year, and will eventually spread to health visiting, district nursing and care homes.
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