‘Brain drain’ in Welsh NHS as 3,000 vacancies go unfilled
The Welsh Labour Government have overseen a “brain drain” in the Welsh NHS which has left 3,000 posts unfilled, according to data revealed by a Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives.
The health boards which responded to the request revealed that there were currently vacancies for 2,201 nurses and midwives, along with 771 medical and dental professionals.
The Conservatives said that final figures were likely to be higher as three of the seven health boards would not provide them with the full figures for all vacancies.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said that the recruitment and retention of staff was now one of the biggest challenges facing the Welsh NHS.
“Over the past two decades, the Labour Government has overseen a brain drain and managed decline in our public services making them an unattractive place to work – a lethal mix which is currently placing immense strain on our NHS,” he said.
He added that the vacancies would put increased pressure to the Welsh NHS as it begins to deal with backlogs in waiting lists which doubled before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Glaring holes in frontline staffing are now affecting all health boards and most medical disciplines,” he said.
“The current predicament is to the obvious detriment of patient care and is a legacy of years of poor management by the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.
“To have thousands of vacancies in a nation of Wales’s size is a sign of confusion and complacency at the top of government – and that rests with Labour.”
The highest number of nursing vacancies were present in Betsi Cadwaladr health board in the north, which accounted for just under a third (698 or 32%) of these.
Meanwhile, Dyfed’s Hywel Dda Health Board had the highest number of medical and dental vacancies (276).
The figures are incomplete as Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, which covers the central valleys, failed to respond to the information request.
Cardiff and Vale Health Board did not give numbers of allied health staff vacancies, and Powys Health Board would not provide details for allied health, medical, nor dental vacancies.
“We need a recruitment and retention strategy with real teeth because it is evident the one in place by Labour ministers is totally ineffective and has putting our NHS at breaking point,” Russell George MS said.