Kirsty Williams AM’s campaign for more nurses on Welsh hospital wards has reached the next stage as the consultation was launched on the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill.
Over 3,000 people have either signed Kirsty’s petition or written to their AM urging them to back the Bill as it progresses through the Assembly. During this 6 week consultation period, Kirsty Williams will tour Welsh hospitals to speak with nurses and feed their views into the consultation.
In December 2013, Kirsty Williams was successful in the National Assembly’s ballot to introduce backbench legislation. Her proposal could see Wales become the first country in the UK with a legal duty on safe nurse staffing levels.
Over 30 organisations and health professionals took part in the initial consultation on the general principals. Their views have fed into the draft bill text, which is being launched for the first time today. The remit of the Bill has been expanded to ensure safe nurse staffing levels within all NHS settings and recognises the importance of professional judgment and outcomes for patients. It includes a requirement to maintain minimum nurse to patient ratios in adult inpatient wards in acute hospitals and provision to extend this to other settings within the NHS in Wales as and when guidance is published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“Whenever I’m talking to people across Wales about my campaign, they are shocked when I tell them there is no legal requirement for safe nurse staffing levels on our hospital wards. My plan will ensure that we get more nurses onto wards, giving nurses more time to care for each patient and ensuring better outcomes for patients, as well as improving working conditions for staff.
“In places like California and Australia where similar legislation has been passed, patient care has improved with lower mortality and readmission rates, fewer slips and falls or medication errors. Nursingcosts in those places have decreased through better workforce planning, which reduces spending on overtime and temporary staff.
“I’m pleased to launch my draft Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill for consultation and look forward to hearing the views of staff, patients and health experts on this proposal. The overwhelming results elsewhere in the world show the need for safe nurse staffing levels on our hospital wards. It’s about time we had a good news story for our NHS in Wales.”