Accident and emergency sign in Wales

Wales addressing NHS workforce challenges

The Welsh Government has announced the publishing of the National Workforce implementation Plan, in response to additional workforce demands in the NHS since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

There are record levels of staff currently being employed by NHS Wales, with the number falling over 105,000, however the World Health Organisation has predicted that there will be a shortfall of ten million health workers globally by 2030, with demand increasing across the planet. 

The plan announced by the Welsh Government includes immediate actions that aim to address the current pressures being faced by the NHS, such as the ethical recruitment of overseas nurses. This will be done via a recruitment drive planned for later in 2023, similar to the ‘Once for Wales’ pilot that led to around 400 nurses joining the NHS last year. 

The NHS’ short term staffing issues are also set to be addressed with the creation of a ‘All-Wales Collaborative Bank’ allowing staff to flexibly choose work, whilst also encouraging the transition away from agency working. 

Health Education and Improvement Wales is also developing new proposals that will see the deployment of reservists that will support the regular workforce when there is extreme pressure. An example of this could be with the deployment of a national vaccination programme such as that seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

More volunteers are also to be encourage into the health and care system, which will further increase the network of those people who give their time to help others who are more vulnerable than themselves. 

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: 

“Our health workforce has reached record numbers in Wales, to help meet the increasing demand on its services. But we are seeing demand for health and social care like never before, in Wales and across the world. 
Our plans are based on what NHS staff have been telling us - that rapid action is needed in key areas now. 
The message is clear: we must accelerate our action, with strong, collective and compassionate leadership, if we are to improve retention and recruitment. It’s vital we provide our workforce with the working environment it needs to continue to provide world-class care for the people of Wales.” 

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