"Phase out private agency staff" - Plaid Cymru calls for four year NHS workforce plan
Welsh Government “paying over the odds to mask lack of management” says Rhun ap Iorwerth MS
Plaid Cymru has called on Welsh Government to create a workforce plan which commits to phasing out private agency staff over the next 4 years.
The calls come after new figures reveal that NHS Wales spent an “eye watering” £260m on agency and bank staff costs in the last year to help fill gaps in the rota.
Many of the agency staff leave NHS contracts for the greater flexibility and control that agency work offers.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has accused Welsh Government of “paying over the odds to mask their lack of management” and says that Welsh Government “must make a meaningful commitment” to phasing out the use of private agency staff.
RCN has previously accused Welsh Government of driving nursing staff out of the NHS by cutting their pay, and into agency work.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“Welsh Government say time and time again there is no money for the NHS, but when they are spending £260m on agency staff, the numbers don’t add up. Plaid Cymru has already done the calculations and we know that an initial offer of 8% to nurses would only require an extra £176m in the current financial year.
“We now need a meaningful commitment from Welsh Government to phase out private agency staff over the next four years, with a clear route to how they will achieve this. The over-reliance on agency staff is a symptom of Welsh Government’s mis-management of the NHS in Wales. They are paying over the odds to mask the lack of ability to treat hardworking NHS staff right.
“Because Welsh Government must look hard at the reasons NHS staff choose to work for agencies. When staff are leaving NHS employ in droves, for the greater flexibility and control offered by agency work – and often come back to work in the same place they’ve just left – Welsh Government must take responsibility for this preposterous situation. Yes, we’ll always need ways of bringing in staff for additional shifts, but profit must be removed from agency working.
“These spiralling costs must be halted immediately, and a new workforce plan, that builds in the flexibility and control that NHS staff need, would show that the Welsh Government is serious about addressing the current crisis in the NHS.”