Nurses’ Working Hours ‘Too Long’

The Royal College of Nursing says the number of excess hours being worked by nurses must be addressed by the assembly government.

Annual employment figures show nurses in Wales work an average of more than four hours unpaid every week, and more than seven if they do overtime.

The assembly is discussing the issue during a plenary debate.

The RCN says there needs to be an effective way of measuring the hours nurses work each week.

The organisation has given evidence on workplace planning and put forward six recommendations to an inquiry by the health, wellbeing and local government committee into the issue.

RCN Wales interim director Richard Jones said: “We cannot stress enough how important it is that the Welsh Assembly Government heed these recommendations and take action by improving their systems of collating data.

“There needs to be an effective way of measuring the hours that nurses and healthcare assistants work and indeed the excess hours that staff put in during their working week.

“This will help to effectively plan the future workforce and ensure that our members are treated fairly and equally by their employers and give a clearer picture of how the Health Service functions in Wales. “

Iestyn Davies, head of communications at RCN Wales, added: “We know that in the long run if you get the skill mix wrong, if your number of registered nurses is inappropriate to the number of non-qualified, unregistered staff, at the end of the day the patient is not going to get the best quality of care.”