As the Welsh NHS marks 75 years of universal healthcare, almost 30 royal colleges and professional bodies representing tens of thousands of nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers, pharmacists and paramedics have come together in a joint call to protect patients by increasing staffing numbers and improving workforce wellbeing.
The Welsh royal colleges and professional (RCAP) bodies advisory group, convened by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has launched a joint paper, endorsed by 28 national organisations, which calls for action to:
- prioritise the retention and recruitment of staff
- guarantee protected time for education, research, teaching and quality improvement
- invest in the community workforce and new models of care.
The new briefing was launched at a lunchtime event in the Oriel at the Senedd to celebrate NHS 75. Hosted by the RCP and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), it was attended by over 60 people from across a variety of specialties, career grades and professions. Members of the Senedd and Welsh government ministers were invited to drop in, learn more about the recommendations and meet the people who care for us when we need them most.
Royal colleges and professional bodies have also signed up to support calls for:
- a refreshed national vision for the Welsh NHS at 100
- improved workforce data collection and analysis
- a renewed commitment to preventing ill-health.
Ahead of the launch, Dr Olwen Williams, outgoing RCP vice president for Wales said:
"We need to do everything we can to make the Welsh NHS a flexible, enjoyable, and innovative place to work, where staff are supported to do their job well, where they can thrive, learn and feel valued – where people want to come to work. Hundreds of thousands of patients need our help right now, and there simply aren’t enough of us to go around. We desperately need more staff – a bigger workforce would mean more time to care for our patients and shorter waiting lists.
"This joint paper brings together almost 30 professions working together in the Welsh health and care service, united in our desire to care for people in Wales to the best of our ability. But health and care staff across Wales are reporting heavy workloads and staff shortages. The General Medical Council recently reported that “urgent action is needed to break a ‘vicious cycle’ of unmanageable workloads, dissatisfaction, and burnout”, with more people than ever saying they are likely to leave the UK workforce. It’s absolutely vital that we prioritise the work–life balance and wellbeing of our current staff to make sure we keep their knowledge and expertise in the NHS."
The Welsh RCAP bodies advisory group represents tens of thousands of people working across health and social care in Wales, in hospitals and the community, from doctors to pharmacists, social workers to nurses, allied health professionals to dentists. The group aims to work collaboratively with the Welsh government, NHS Wales, local authorities and other stakeholders to improve how we educate, attract, retain and redesign the health and care workforce while valuing, motivating and supporting staff to deliver high-quality patient care.