Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has raised serious concerns about the secondment of the Director of Nursing at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board to the Chief Nursing Officer's office.
Three nurses at the health board are facing criminal charges after claims of serious neglect, poor care and falsifying records at a hospital in the health board.
Following a phone call by a whistle-blower nurse to the office of Kirsty Williams, a freedom of information request was sent to the Welsh Labour Government asking for clarification.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats' FOI revealed that the secondment wasn't advertised and that the secondment decision was made by the Chief Executive of ABMUHB and the Chief Nursing Officer, with the approval of David Sissling, the outgoing Chief Executive of NHS Wales. David Sissling was also the former Chief Executive of the ABMUHB.
The FOI also revealed that her new role at the CNO's office would be to review "Doing Well, Doing Better - Standards for Health Services in Wales" and the "Fundamentals of Care" policy revisions.
She will also support the work of CSSIW in doing fundamentals of care reviews in nursing care homes.
Kirsty Williams said:
"I find it very difficult to understand how the Welsh Labour Government can second someone who was in charge of nursing at a health board, under investigation, to this role.
"In the freedom of information request we received, it says that the former director of nursing at the health board will now be responsible for reviewing nursing standards for all of Wales.
"Ultimate responsibility for the standards of care of nurses at a health board lies with the Director of Nursing. We know that there is a current police investigation at the health board into the three nurses. Many people will question whether it is right for this former director of nursing to be given such an important role at the heart of the NHS. It looks like the Welsh Labour Government are trying to airbrush her out of a difficult situation.
"NHS staff work incredibly hard, doing an exceptionally difficult job, but far too often they are overworked and unable to offer patients the best possible care.
"The Francis report emphasised the importance of staffing levels in its investigation into the Mid Staffordshire scandal and there is strong evidence to support the fact that minimum nurse staffing levels improve patient outcomes. It is for this reason that the Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that minimum nursing levels should be enshrined in law."