More than three quarters of RCN Wales survey respondents were concerned about safe levels of nursing staffing in the community and in care homes. Nursing staffing levels and skill mix are closely linked with patient risks.
The RCN was successful in campaigning in 2016 for the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act. Section 25B of this species a safe nurse staffing methodology to be used on medical and surgical adult wards. Children's inpatient wards will be included in 2021.
RCN Wales asked members what setting they believed was the most important for Section 25B of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 to be extended to. Over a third (37%) say that care homes should be next.
A further 23% of respondents think community nursing is the most important sector for safe staffing, while 16% say community hospitals are most important.
Put together, over three quarters of respondents are concerned about safe staffing in the community and care homes.
Helen Whyley, Director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, said: "Community nursing and care home nursing are inextricably linked. Despite both suffering serious staffing shortages, they support each other to care for patients who would otherwise be admitted to hospital.
"This has never been truer than during the COVID-19 pandemic, where staff shortages have been compounded by staff absences as they self-isolate for the safety of their patients and colleagues. Clearly, safe staffing outside hospital settings must be the top priority for nursing staff in Wales."
Survey findings reveal that RCN Wales members also believe:
- Wales needs to educate more nurses – and work harder to keep them
- to keep its nurses, NHS Wales needs a bigger, better-paid workforce
- to retain nurses in care homes, higher pay is important – but so is respect
- the top public health priorities for the next Welsh Government should be facilitating access to mental health services, and physical activity.
The RCN Wales 2020 member survey ran twice: once in March 2020 and again in September to November 2020. There were 753 respondents.