National action across Wales needs to be taken to support the retention of nursing staff, so safe nurse staffing levels can be achieved, the RCN has said.
The comments were made as RCN Wales launched a new report that provides detail on the progress made by health boards on nurse staffing in the past 18 months.
The RCN says that overall, the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 has changed NHS culture in Wales for the better. Significant investment has already been made to increase the numbers of nursing staff in wards covered by the act. In addition, nurse leadership has been strengthened and safe nurse staffing levels are being discussed at board level.
Helen Whyley, Director RCN Wales, has challenged the Welsh Government to work with the RCN to develop a national retention strategy for nursing that includes flexible working and career opportunities, as well as improved access to continuing professional development, as part of their ‘Healthier Wales’ programme.
She added: “NHS Wales has more to do to support the retention of nursing staff in a strategic and meaningful way. This action is needed now to achieve the implementation of safe nurse staffing levels in every setting to protect patient care.”
There are more than 1,500 nursing vacancies in the NHS in Wales alone and the care home sector is also struggling - for registered nurses and health care support workers.