“Preposterous” to see companies “profiteering over Labour mismanagement” – Rhun ap Iorwerth MS

Plaid Cymru has accused the Labour Welsh Government of “failing to get a grip” on “out of control” spend on private agency staff in the NHS.

According to new figures published by Welsh Government, the spend on NHS agency staff was over £320 million for 2022. This is a £70 million increase from the figure reported in 2021.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for health and care said it’s “preposterous” to see “private companies profiteering over Labour mismanagement of the NHS in Wales.”

Mr ap Iorwerth went on to say:

“The spend on private agency staff is out of control. Year on year this figure escalates, proving that the Labour Welsh Government has utterly failed to get a grip on this spend, despite repeated assurances that the issued will be addressed.

“We said this in January when we heard that last year’s spend was £260m – now we understand the real figure is over £320m. It is preposterous to think that, at a time when Welsh Government say they have no money to make an improved pay offer to striking workers, that so much money is going to private firms.

“The situation is especially absurd 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, just at a greater cost to the NHS.

“We’ve arrived at this place because of years of Labour mismanagement. They must now take the responsibility and lead the NHS Wales away from this over-reliance on private agencies, be that by creating a public agency, or simply building in the flexibility that NHS staff need into existing contracts. In fact, we need both! Welsh Government must show they are serious about addressing these spiralling costs.”