Nurses in Wales are constantly telling me that they're under pressure. They're firefighting at the frontline with increasing workloads and frustrated at being unable to provide the quality of care that they are trained to, and want to, deliver.
Whenever I'm talking to people up and down Wales, they're shocked when I tell them that there is currently no legal duty to provide safe nurse staffing levels in Welsh hospitals. That's why I'm pleased to be launching my draft Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill today for consultation.
My plan will enshrine an obligation for safe nurse staffing levels into law, ensuring that we get more nurses onto wards and giving them more time to care for each patient. It aims to improve care outcomes for patients and improve working conditions for staff.
According to overwhelming evidence elsewhere in the world my plan should achieve just that. 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. Nursing costs in those places have decreased through better workforce planning, which reduces spending on overtime and temporary staff.
Over the next six weeks, I'll be touring hospitals across Wales to talk to nurses about my plan. I want to get as much input as possible from nurses and healthcare professionals. If you want to find out more, just click here.
Over 3,000 people have supported our campaign by signing our petition. You can sign too - just head to www.MoreNurses.org.uk to add your voice to the campaign.
It's about time the Welsh NHS had some good news. Let's give patients and hardworking staff the good news story they deserve.
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats