In February 2016 the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill - also known as the More Nurses Bill - was passed by the Welsh Assembly.
This was a private member’s bill introduced by Kirsty Williams AM, and meant Wales was the first country in Europe to have a duty to maintain a legal safe nursing staffing level on its hospital wards. It applied to adult acute medical inpatient wards, adult acute surgical inpatient wards, and “such other situations as the Welsh Ministers may be regulations specify.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto for the Welsh Assembly elections in 2016 contained a pledge to build on the success of the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill, expanding it to more settings.
The Progressive Agreement contained a commitment that “there are more nurses, in more settings, through an extended nurse staffing levels law.”
In August 2016 the Welsh Government announced a new Nurse Staffing Levels Act, expanding it to other clinical settings. These include paediatric in-patient settings, health visiting services, district nursing services, and mental health adult in-patient services.
In December 2016 the Welsh Government consulted on these proposals - work is being undertaken to ensure there is a robust evidence base to develop workforce planning tools to apply the regulations to the other settings.
Cllr Elizabeth Evans, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said:
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats made supporting nurses a key plank of our 2016 manifesto and it’s great to see us delivering in Government.
“More nurses means more time for patient care, and therefore better patient care.
“We have dedicated, committed and hard-working staff who need to be given support to deliver the best outcomes for Welsh patients.”