Healthcare Sciences research informs Welsh Government debate on new nurse staffing legislation
29 May 2015
One of the most important healthcare debates at the National Assembly for Wales in recent times will be informed by research undertaken by Cardiff's School of Healthcare Sciences.
Assembly Members will vote during June on whether to introduce legislation that stipulates a minimum number of registered nurses should be on duty on medical and surgical wards across Wales.
Members of the School of Healthcare Sciences' Workforce, Innovation and Improvement Research Group this week completed research, commissioned by the Welsh Government, on how nurse staffing levels across Wales are set and monitored and the possible impact of staffing levels on patient safety.
The research will inform the forthcoming debate on the introduction of the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill. The bill aims to ensure that sufficient numbers of nurses are on duty to enable the provision of safe nursing care to patients at all times. If the Bill is voted in Wales will become one of only a few nations worldwide to enshrine nurse staffing levels in law.
The research undertaken by the School will ensure that the debate as to whether or not to ensure the numbers of nurses on duty across Wales is enshrined in law is based on clear evidence and an informed analysis of the findings of the research project.
Project lead Dr Aled Jones stated that whether or not the Bill is passed the unprecedented scrutiny on nurse staffing levels in Wales is set to continue.
"The eyes of nurses worldwide are on Wales at this moment. Whether or not the bill comes into being, the process of debating nurse staffing levels in Wales means that we now know more about important questions regarding staffing levels on medical and surgical wards in Wales.
Our research contributes to a better understanding of nurse staffing levels for politicians, policy makers and NHS organisations. However as is common with research of this nature further questions have naturally arisen as a result of the project which will lead to more research projects in due course."
The report can be accessed via the Welsh Government website.
The project team consisted of Professor Daniel Kelly, Dr Tom Powell, Dr Sofia Vougioukalou and Dr Mary Lynch.