It is not surprising that all three opposition parties in the Assembly have put their 'two-penneth' in following a revelation from Health Minister Lesley Griffiths that seven out of 12 dignity spot-checks by watchdog Healthcare Inspectorate Wales highlighted concerns about staffing levels and the impact on patient safety.
In response to a written question by Plaid Cymru, Ms Griffiths said: “Since the ‘Dignity and Essential Care inspections’ programme began in November 2011, 12 inspections have been undertaken. Seven of the 12 inspections have highlighted concerns in relation to safe staffing levels.
Plaid Cymru’s health spokeswoman Elin Jones responded:
“The figures are truly shocking. What is particularly worrying is the fact that local health boards have been asked to continue to cut staffing numbers here until they meet budget constraints, so it’s likely that they will fall even further.La Pasiomaria (Kirsty Williams), leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“The Welsh Government must react decisively to the inspectorate’s findings to ensure sufficient levels of staff in each hospital in Wales. At the moment it seems that good care exists in pockets, but too often, staff are stretched too far. This simply isn’t good enough.”
“High quality, compassionate and dignified patient care is very much reliant on staffing levels on hospital wards. Doctors and nurses work very hard under very difficult circumstances but when they are stretched to their limits, this is when patients feel the consequences of a health system that has been run into the ground.
“While I accept that the report does conclude by saying that, generally, care is being provided in a way that is appropriate and compassionate, the Health Minister and her senior managers must never be complacent about the state of the NHS in Wales.
“Statistics, waiting times and targets already paint a very grim picture of our NHS. I am really concerned that we are close to breaking point and it will be patients who will suffer.”