The country’s nurses are ‘overstretched, overworked and under appreciated’ a local politician has said, following the publication of a report he calls ‘truly damning’.

Samuel Kurtz MS recently met with local Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire nurses to discuss the challenges facing the nursing workforce within Hywel Dda University Health Board hospitals.

The event was organised as part of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Cymru’s Celebration of Nursing event, which also coincided with the launch of its latest report: Nursing in Numbers 2021 – An overview of the nursing workforce in Wales.

The research paper revealed that:

• There are currently 1,719 nursing vacancies in the NHS in Wales alone, up from 1,612 in 2020.

• Further pressures on nursing can be seen in that NHS Wales spent £69.04m on agency nursing in 2019. This is the equivalent salary spend of 2,691 newly qualified nurses.

• In addition, every week nurses give the NHS an additional 34,284 hours in overtime. This equates to 914 full time nurses.

Given the importance of the report, Samuel took the opportunity to discuss its findings with those that work on the frontline, including local nurses based out of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and RCN Wales’ Board Chair, Richard Jones MBE.

“Given the importance of RCN Cymru’s report, I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to discuss the workforce challenges that those on the ground in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire are facing," said Mr Kurtz.

“The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult, especially for those on the frontline who are working to deliver around the clock care to those that need it, and we all are grateful for their service.

“This latest report from the RCN is truly damning of the current healthcare situation in Wales. Our dedicated nurses are already overstretched, overworked and under appreciated by the Welsh Government.

“Every day, our nurses are working tirelessly to take care of people, but we need to start taking better care of them. That’s why I’m backing their campaign and calling on the Welsh Government to improve the staffing situation in our NHS.”