Plaid Cymru has called for creative thinking to tackle staffing shortages in the Welsh NHS.
In the party’s opposition day debate in the Senedd this week, Health spokesperson Elin Jones will set out innovative proposals to attract additional quality staff in Wales and provide alternative solutions to the Welsh Government’s health reconfiguration proposals.
The Party of Wales Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said:
“Plaid Cymru believes that dealing with workforce shortages in the NHS, which includes community services such as GPs and specialist and community nursing services, will put services on a far better footing for the future.
“We need to concentrate on developing high quality to staff in Wales at all levels of the healthcare service so that we can get the best quality care for our patients.
“Our positive suggestions are based on what we know works elsewhere. Recruitment of people to undertake postgraduate training is a crucial part of ensuring there are sufficient numbers of medics to provide a service, as 95% of those who complete postgraduate training stay practicing in Wales.
“An innovative example to assist this is the successful bond system in place in New Zealand where financial incentives, such as repayment of student loans, are used to attract staff to move to locations where there are recruitment issues.
“A scheme similar to this was established by the One Wales coalition with dentists. A similar model is used in teacher training.
As well as the New Zealand model, the Shadow Health Minister also referred to work underway in Scotland to attract research grants:
“In Scotland, the NHS has been made part of the research environment through initiatives such as ‘get randomised’ campaign that encourage patients to participate in research.
“Research teams have been supported to get grant money, attracting other top professionals to hospitals and universities there.
“This has made the culture attractive to prospective medical students and junior doctors – a case of success breeding success.
“Plaid Cymru believes that we need to have a constructive debate about the future of our Welsh National Health Service.
“That means that we must look creatively at means of improving the services provided to patients in other ways than just the removal and centralisation of services as is happening under the current Welsh Government’s plans.
“As it stands, there are many problems with attracting and retaining staff in community settings, shortages that actually pose an obstacle to the service changes the Welsh Government claim they want to see.”