Wales politics

Nurse leader's warning over NHS Wales future funding

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Media captionTina Donnelly: 'NHS could cease to exist'

Politicians across the UK must find a better way of financing the NHS if it is to continue to meet demand, the director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales has said.

Tina Donnelly said a lack of resources has left nurses feeling they are unable to fulfil their duty of care.

She warned they could quit and the NHS would be left without enough staff.

The Welsh Government has said there were more registered nurses working than ever before.

There are currently 29,345 nurses, midwives and health visitors in the Welsh NHS.

Ms Donnelly called for a review by political parties across the UK into how the NHS is funded to "make sure staff are not put under relentless pressure so that they leave".

"People don't want to go to work every day if they think that they can't achieve the standards they are supposed to achieve through their training," she told the Sunday Politics Wales programme.

"Governments across the UK owe it to the British public to turn round and say 'how we can continue to fund the NHS to meet the demands?'

"Without that, there is going to be insufficient resource to meet sufficient demand, and the NHS will not continue to exist.

"That's the bottom line, because you won't have the staff to be able to meet the demand."

Image caption Ann Thomas said she had felt "disenchanted" with her job

Ann Thomas, a nurse who recently retired after nearly 40 years in hospitals across south Wales, said she had come to feel "disenchanted" with her job.

She said: "It was number crunching; it was getting the patients through as quickly as you can. I didn't want that. I felt that wasn't why I became a nurse."

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: "We know there's spiralling demand within the Welsh NHS, if we don't have the staff to meet the demand waiting times will increase."

He called on Welsh Labour Health Secretary Vaughan Gething to "pull his finger out and get on top of this".

Image caption Vaughan Gething said nurse training places have risen by 68% since 2014

Mr Gething said that since 2014 the number of nurse training places commissioned has risen by 68%.

He said: "It's important to note that figures will fluctuate over the year as nurses retire and new graduates come into the system, but health boards are reporting more nurses joining the profession than leaving, with overall numbers continuing to increase.

"Despite the severe impact of eight years of UK government austerity, we continue to invest record levels in the NHS workforce."

Mr Gething added: "This year we're investing £107m in education and training programmes for healthcare professionals, resulting in a 10% increase in commissioned nurse training places on last year."

The Welsh Government launched the Train, Work, Live recruitment campaign last year, aimed at promoting nursing as a job and Wales as a place to live and work.

The NHS in Wales is devolved to the Welsh Government, which provides funding largely sourced from the grant it receives from the UK government.

Sunday Politics, 11:00 GMT, 11 March, BBC One Wales

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