At the beginning of this government term, we made a commitment to ensure more nurses in more settings through extending the second duty of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 – sections 25B and 25C which mandate the duty to calculate and maintain nurse staffing levels). Thanks to the hard work of the All Wales Nurse Staffing Group and its paediatric work-stream, the requisite evidence-based workforce planning tool has been developed for use in paediatric inpatient wards. This paediatric version of the Welsh Levels of Care – the tool used on adult acute medical and surgical wards – was developed and tested with more than two years of data capture on Wales’ paediatric wards.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant additional pressures on our nursing workforce, also disrupting the work of the All Wales Nurse Staffing Group, and the health boards’ preparatory work towards the planned extension. Despite this, I remain committed to achieving this legislative aim within this government term, and my officials have continued to undertake the necessary legal steps to ensure it is possible.
I am today announcing that a 12 week consultation period will open this week to gather views on changes to the revised statutory guidance that have been made to include paediatric inpatient wards alongside the original acute adult medical and surgical wards. You will find the consultation documents at https://gov.wales/nurse-staffing-levels-wales-act-2016-revised-statutory-guidance as of Wednesday 16 September.
The intended legislative timetable for the extension is as follows:
September 16 – 9 December: Consultation period open
Early January: Consultation report published
Late January: Draft regulations laid before the Senedd
February: Plenary debate on draft regulations
1 October 2021: Planned coming-into-force date