An extra £10m is to be handed to health boards in Wales for the recruitment of nearly 300 hospital nurses, ministers have announced.
The Welsh Government said it was making the funding available as part of its response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
Health minister for Wales Mark Drakeford said the £10m would allow the NHS to recruit “the medical and surgical ward nurses needed for the future”. It is expected to pay for around 290 posts.
During a Welsh Assembly debate on the Francis report, Mr Drakeford said “safe and compassionate care” depended “fundamentally on people”.
“Staff are the greatest resource of the NHS and the staffing we need for the future has to match changing patterns of need,” he said. “Our hospital in-patient population now consists predominantly of older people, often with a complex mixture of social and clinical conditions.”
He noted that chief nursing officer for Wales Jean White was currently leading work to introduce a new way of determining the number of nurses needed on any ward.
Mr Drakeford said “Work so far has concentrated on acute medical and surgical wards. It shows that we need more nurses and healthcare support workers, in order to reach the staffing levels we will need in future.
“I recognise that meeting these new requirements of the post-Francis world comes at a cost… An additional £10m will be provided in the current financial year, to allow health boards to accelerate their plans to secure acute medical and surgical ward nurses.”
|Proposed allocation of the £10m per board, based on population||£m|
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Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, welcomed the announcement.
She said: “In light of the recent Francis report, we are reminded that a lack of safe nurse staffing levels in hospitals can lead to unsafe, undignified, poor quality of care.
“Research confirms that appropriate levels of nursing staff in hospitals are associated with improved patient outcomes, including mortality and patient satisfaction,” she said.
“With the pressures and demands of health care in Wales at an all-time high, we are grateful that the health minister’s decision will not only fund approximately 290 new nursing posts, but could also contribute to a more stable and healthier NHS workforce,” Ms Donnelly added.
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