A high number of nurses are feeling “less valued” by the Welsh Government since the Covid-19 pandemic hit according to a report.
According to a survey by the Royal College of Nursing 34 per cent of nurses now feel less valued by the Welsh Government.
The report, called Nursing and the Covid-19 Pandemic, and described by RCN Wales as “disturbing”, states that this was higher than any other UK nation. It also said that only 17 per cent of nurses feel more valued by the government.
The survey says that nurses are also, on the whole, feeling less valued by their employers, with, only 14 per cent of nurses feel more valued by their senior executive management, whilst 27 per cent feel less valued.
It did, however, report that 74 per cent of respondents feel more valued by the general public since Covid-19.
It is feared that nurses “feeling undervalued” and a “combination of stress and reduced morale” could lead to a large number of departures from the profession and “worsening of the workforce shortages”.
The RCN says that the NHS in Wales is already short of more than 1,600 registered nurses.
The report called for measures to be put in place to support the mental health and wellbeing of nursing staff, and as part of this, it says nurses should be supported to take their breaks and not to work excess hours.
The survey of more than 2,000 Welsh nursing staff was conducted between May and June as part of a review of how the profession was faring during the pandemic.
Nicky Hughes, associate director of nursing at RCN Wales, told Nursing Times that the findings are “really quite disturbing”.
She added that if nurses “do not feel valued by their employer and government, then they are going to look for other avenues and professions to move into”.
Ms Hughes said that nurses were “already working in a very demanding profession” before the pandemic. but now they were “exhausted, burnt out”, as well as “emotionally, mentally and physically drained”.
Fran Beadle, national clinical informatics lead for nursing at NHS Wales, said: “NHS Wales Informatics Service will continue to support the nursing profession in the Covid response by supporting digital ways of working to increase safety and enable them to work remotely to reduce the risk of infection.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We take the wellbeing of all staff working in our health and care services very seriously and recognise the tremendous contribution they are all making during these incredibly challenging times.”