Plaid calls for patient-to-nurse ratios to be protected
The Party of Wales has found that seven out of twelve ‘dignity and essential care’ inspections carried out by Health Inspectorate Wales have revealed concerns about the levels of staffing in Welsh hospitals. The inspections highlighted incidents of sub-standard care, such as gaps in staff straining, and failure to meet the provisions requested by the All Wales Catering and Nutrition Standards.
Plaid Cymru’s Health spokesperson Elin Jones highlighted that LHBs in Wales have been asked to cut band 5 or above posts by 3% each year until 2013, as part of a drive to shift the balance from higher paid to lower paid nurses. This, she said, demonstrates the trend across Wales that will see the number staff available to care for patients reduced deamatically.
Last week, the Francis report into the scandal of poor patient care at a Mid Staffordshire hospital found that one of the causes was poor staff-to-patient ratios as a result of cost cutting and the loss of experienced nurses.
The Party of Wales Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said:
“The figures are truly shocking. They show that in most instances, staffing numbers in Wales are simply inadequate. What is particularly worrying is the fact that LHBs have been asked to continue to cut staffing numbers here until they meet budget constraints, so it’s likely that they will fall even further.
“What I am concerned about, and what was highlighted in the findings of the Francis Report, is that when patient-to-nurse ratios fall, then patient care suffers.
“The Welsh Government must react decisively to the Inspectorate’s findings to ensure sufficient levels of staff in each hospital in Wales. At the moment it seems that good care exists in pockets, but too often, staff are stretched too far. This simply isn’t good enough.
“The Health Minister needs to tell us what she is doing to address this problem and improve standards.
“Plaid Cymru has called for better planning within the NHS to ensure a sufficient supply of nurses, and we have outlined plans to enable ward sisters to take a lead on matters such as dignity and respect, cleanliness and hygiene, and mealtimes. There is much that needs to be done to ensure that patient experience is as good as it should be.”