A safe nurse staffing bill in Wales has moved one step closer to becoming legislation, after ministers took a vote on its financial implications.
Welsh assembly members passed the motion on the financial resolution for the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill last night.
It will now move onto the next part of the legislative process, which will see ministers consider amendments to the bill.
A further two stages will still need to be passed before the bill can become law.
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams, who put forward the bill at the end of 2013, said last night’s decision was a signal ministers would agree for the law to be introduced.
“Nurses in Wales have to care for more patients per head than any other part of the UK. We simply can’t allow this situation to continue”
She said the bill was a “golden opportunity” to combat negative media headlines about the Welsh NHS.
“The premise of this bill is simple – making sure there are more nurses on our hospital wards means each nurse will have more time to care for each patient.
“This will lead to better care outcomes for those patients, and a more manageable workload which might stem the flow of nurses leaving the profession,” she said.
“Nurses in Wales have to care for more patients per head than any other part of the UK. We simply can’t allow this situation to continue,” added Ms Williams.
A recent poll by the Royal College of Nursing in Wales of the general public found 90% said it was important to bring in the law.
If passed, it would see Wales become the first country in the UK with a legal duty on safe nurse staffing levels.