Welsh Conservatives raise the alarm over A&E department staffing levels
The Welsh Conservatives have raised the alarm over safe staffing levels in Welsh A&E departments after a Freedom of Information requests revealed all major hospitals are falling well short of the recommended ‘baseline’ for staffing levels in emergency departments.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) sets a ‘baseline’ for the number of WTE (working-time equivalent) consultants who should be employed in the department to guarantee safe cover.
At present no hospital is close to meeting this baseline in Wales, potentially placing patients at risk.
The most understaffed units were in the Hywel Dda health board area, with its three major hospitals recording an average staffing level of 36% of the recommended baseline.
Aberystwyth’s Bronglais Hospital only had one consultant when they should have eight.
Despite being the best performing unit in Wales, The University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff was still nine people short of the safety baseline.
Describing the figures as “appalling” Shadow Health Minister Russell George has reiterated the party’s calls for safe consultant staffing levels to be put into law in Wales, as has been done for nurses, something rejected two years ago by the Welsh Government.
“It is appalling that patients are waiting record lengths to be seen in A&E as it is, but when that is mixed with dangerous levels of staffing, then the Labour Government must explain why lives are being put at risk and why health boards aren’t even putting aside the funds for more,” Mr George said.
“Of course, Labour had the chance to prevent this with safe staffing legislation months ago but, as usual, they rejected our sensible and much desired proposals out of spite”.
“Labour need to introduce safe staffing levels for A&E consultants, get a grip on the NHS, and stop breaking all the wrong records.”
Last month NHS Wales recorded its third worst A&E and ambulance waits ever.
The Welsh Conservatives previously called for safe consultant staffing levels during the passage of the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) Act, as did the British Medical Association
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