The Welsh Liberal Democrats campaign for more nurses on Welsh hospital wards continues its progress through the Assembly. The next stage sees a consultation taking place on the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill.
In December 2013, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader and Health spokesperson Kirsty Williams was successful in the National Assembly's ballot to introduce backbench legislation. If successful in becoming law the proposal would see Wales become the first country in the UK with a legal duty with regard to safe nurse staffing levels.
Over 3,000 people have already signed the petition or written to their AM urging them to back the Bill. During this 6 week consultation period, Kirsty Williams will tour Welsh hospitals to speak with nurses and feed their views into the consultation.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats are fully supportive of the Bill. Parliamentary candidate for Pontypridd Mike Powell says
"At the moment whilst there are some guidelines as to safe nurse staffing levels they are not enforceable and Health Boards do not abide by them much of the time.
"Figures from the Royal College of Nursing show that nurses in Wales have more patients to care for than any other part of the UK, with an average of 10.5 patients per nurse compared to 8.5 in England. It is not fair on staff who are working under undue stress or patients who deserve a better level of care.
"The proposed Bill has the backing of the Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association in Wales and the Royal College of Physicians amongst others. Hopefully it will also gain the backing of the Labour Government."
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, added:
"Whenever I'm talking to people across Wales about my campaign, they are shocked when I tell them there is no legal requirement for safe nurse staffing levels on our hospital wards. My plan will ensure that we get more nurses onto wards, giving nurses more time to care for each patient and ensuring better outcomes for patients, as well as improving working conditions for staff.
"In places like California and Australia where similar legislation has been passed, patient care has improved with lower mortality and readmission rates, fewer slips and falls or medication errors. Nursing costs in those places have decreased through better workforce planning, which reduces spending on overtime and temporary staff."
You can add your name to the petition here