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RCN to new First Minister: 3 urgent steps to rescue Welsh NHS

Helen Whyley, Director of RCN Wales, has written to the First Minister calling for immediate action to protect patients and secure the future of nursing in Wales.

Senedd Cymru - Welsh National Assembly building

This month Vaughan Gething MS was announced as Wales’s new First Minister. As a former Health Minister for Wales, Vaughan is no stranger to the RCN and will be aware of the huge list of challenges facing him.

The 3 pressing areas for action put forward by RCN Wales include Welsh government delivering on promises in the Welsh government’s 2023/24 pay offer which our members accepted last year, a responsible introduction of registered nursing associates to Wales, and a strategic investment in the education of nurses at all career stages, to meet future health care demands.

Director of RCN Wales Helen Whyley said: “Now is the time for the First Minister to refresh his public commitment to safe and effective care. That would go a long way towards assuring nursing staff that his government will address the extreme pressures they are under.

“What’s critical is that the First Minister keeps nursing staff in the NHS. That’s why he must make sure the Welsh government keeps every promise it made to our members last year to end industrial action. Those important promises could make a real difference to nurses and to their patients. That’s why our members accepted them in good faith – but half a year later, they have yet to feel a difference.

“New nursing roles are fantastic, but patients need to understand what that means for them – and, crucially, they need to be funded properly. Any risk to patient safety from registered nurses being inappropriately replaced is completely unacceptable. And this can’t become a distraction from getting the basics right, either. A national strategy for commissioning nursing education, all the way from student to advanced and consultant level, would be a fitting ambition for a new First Minister with a commitment to improving health.”

RCN Wales looks forward to swiftly beginning work with the new First Minister on these key areas as we continue to influence with and for our members.