Following the striking announcement that agency expenditure in 2017-18 increased to £135.7 million in Wales, Janet Finch-Saunders, Assembly Member for Aberconwy, and Shadow Minister for social care, children, young people, and older people, has found that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board had the highest expenditure of any health board, and called on the Welsh Government to take urgent action to help retain and recruit staff.
“It is an extremely worrying fact that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has the highest expenditure on agency staff in Wales. A staggering £34million in 2017/18!
“The seriousness of the situation is clear when considering that this spend represents an almost 190% increase since 2012/13.
“Staff working on a temporary basis generally cost more for a shift than a person of the same grade who has a substantive contract, and more so, there are significant advantages to having a permanent team.
“According to the Auditor General the problem across Wales is being caused by the need to cover vacant posts, sickness absence, and skills shortages.
“I believe that the situation is being exacerbated in North Wales due to the mismanagement of the health board by the Welsh Labour Government.
“When considering that Betis Cadwaladr has been in special measures for three and a half years, it is clear to me that patients and hardworking staff continue to be failed. Undoubtedly, this bad reputation might be contributing to the growing dependency on agency staff.
“As the Interim director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales advised, Wales must be able to continue to attract high calibre professionals, students and trainees. I have therefore written to Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services asking for urgent measures to be taken to help retain and attract more staff in North Wales”.
Written Assembly Question:
Will the Minister make a statement on the fact that agency expenditure at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was the highest in Wales in 2017/18, and explain whether he will take urgent steps to retain and recruit more staff so to reduce the reliance on agencies?