‘Tough decisions’ coming on Welsh finances, nurses told

The Welsh health minister has hinted to nurses of possible cuts to come in the country, but promised to shield the NHS from the impact “as far as possible”.

Speaking at the chief nursing officer (CNO) for Wales’ annual conference today, Eluned Morgan told delegates they would soon be hearing of “tough decisions” made by the government on finances.

“We, as government, are making a commitment to protect the NHS as far as possible”

Eluned Morgan

Her warning comes after Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford told his ministers earlier this year that they would need to work over the summer to find cutbacks to public services.

Addressing the summit this morning, being held in Cardiff, Ms Morgan said that the “economic turmoil of the past year is having an undeniable impact on finical decisions being made in health boards, and in government in Wales”.

“Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear about the tough decisions we’re going to have to make as a result of that Tory mismanagement and the global inflation and economy,” she said.

“We, as government, are making a commitment to protect the NHS as far as possible. But, despite our efforts, we’re all likely to feel that extra pressure.

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“We’re fortunate to have a nursing and midwifery workforce not only highly skilled, but deeply committed to the wellbeing of our people.”

She added: “As with 2007 crash, I’m confident well get through it together and build back stronger in the future.”

However, the health minister said her government was sticking by the pledges in the national nurse retention plan published earlier this year, as well as other actions to boost the nursing workforce.

Ms Morgan continued: “I know [the plan] has been well received.

“We also recognise the impact of the increasing cost of living on all of us, including healthcare professionals and health students.

“We continue to review the NHS bursary scheme, which has been a constant in Wales for over 20 years, and we’ll continue to invest in your professional development, providing excellent opportunities and preparing you for future roles.

“As a government, we recognise work-life balance is so important to wellbeing and professional longevity; [our plans will] ensure the ability to request flexible working, and an assumption in favour of granting that will be the norm.”

Ms Morgan mentioned other pledges the department had made, including flexible retirement and an investment in nurse training including apprenticeships to address the vacancy rate.

“The world is a different place, and the traditional routes into nursing and midwifery won’t be suitable for everyone,” she added.

“Our goal is to create conditions where our workforce can thrive.

“When nurses and midwives thrive, so does your health system and, ultimately, so does the health and wellbeing of our citizens.”

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