Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has today announced plans to extend the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act to include paediatric inpatient wards by April 2021.
The extension will require approval by the Senedd before becoming law.
The Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 places a general duty on all health boards to provide sufficient nurses to care for patients sensitively in all areas they provide or commission. It also places a specific second duty to calculate and maintain the nurse staffing level for adult acute medical inpatient wards and adult acute surgical inpatient wards.
Mr Gething said:
High quality nursing care with the right numbers makes a real difference to patient care and outcomes. So I’m very pleased to announce this next phase of work that will lead to the extension of this Act to benefit more patients. Work is continuing to look at extending it further to cover health visiting services, district nursing services and mental health inpatient areas.
This Welsh Government is also committed to delivering the sustainable workforce needed to support this act. I recently announced extra money to increase nursing training places in Wales and extend the NHS Wales bursary until 2023. The number of nurse training places in Wales has risen by 89% since 2014 and the overall number of registered nurses has increased by 2.4% over the same period.
Chief Nursing Officer, Jean White, said:
I’m delighted the first legislative steps have been taken to enable extension to paediatric inpatient wards. This system empowers and supports nurses to use their professional judgement to understand and plan for the right levels of care.