Members of the National Assembly for Wales are to vote tomorrow during the third stage of a bill on safe nurse staffing levels that is passing through parliament.
They are being called upon by the Royal College of Nursing Wales to support the proposed legislation, following further consideration of its details.
“We have been working on this for three years and it is now crunch time for assembly members to vote for this bill to progress to stage four”
Tomorrow’s debate on further amendments to the bill by the assembly as a whole follows several previous stages in the parliamentary process.
During the most recent stage, in which just the health and social care committee considered amendments, the word “safe” was removed from the title of the bill at the request of the Welsh government.
If it passes tomorrow’s vote, the proposed legislation, now called the Nurse Staffing Levels Wales Bill, would still need to reach stage four and a final vote on its wording before becoming law.
If this were to happen, it would see Wales become the first country in the UK with a legal duty on safe nurse staffing levels in hospitals.
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The bill was first put forward in December 2013 when Welsh Liberal Democrat party leader Kirsty Williams was successful in an assembly ballot to introduce backbench legislation and subsequently submitted a private member’s bill.
Ahead of tomorrow’s session, Tina Donnelly, director of the RCN in Wales, said: “This is the opportunity for assembly members to demonstrate their unequivocal support for the bill to ensure that neither nurses nor patients are put at risk when staffing levels fall below what is considered safe.
“We have been working on this for three years and it is now crunch time for assembly members to vote for this bill to progress to stage four,” she said. ”Without a law like this our lives and the lives of those we care about are being put at risk”.
She added: “The RCN is asking all of our assembly members to vote yes tomorrow to support the bill. The bill will improve patient care and ensure better outcomes. The safety of patients in Wales should not be ignored.”