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Nursing Staffing Levels Bill passed by AMs

The bill will ensure there are enough nurses on wards to make sure patients are safe. Credit: PA

The Nursing Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill has been passed by AMs today, leaving just one more step before it becomes law here.

The bill, which will set a European precedent for a legal requirement for safe nursing levels on wards, now only needs Royal Assent to become law. The Royal College of Nursing in Wales says the bill is needed not only to ensure the safety of patients, but the wellbeing of frontline staff.

This law will protect patients in Wales and will empower registered nurses to positively influence staffing decisions in our hospitals. This is a truly historic step to improving patient care in the UK and we are very proud that the National Assembly for Wales has led the way on this issue.

– Tina Donnelly, Director of the RCN in Wales

Over 4,500 members of the public have signed petitions in support of the bill.

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Plans to improve ear, nose and throat services in Wales

A new plan has been unveiled to improve ear, nose and throat services (ENT) in Wales.

Credit: PA

The new community-based services will take in direct referrals from primary care for hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness to free up hospital-based services, allowing them to treat the most complex cases.

As part of the plan, new measures will be put in place to make sure that only the right patients are managed in doctor-led secondary care, with the vast majority of patients seen in community-based services.

Other measures include:

  • Patients who don’t need outpatient appointments or surgery will be removed from waiting lists to try to reduce waiting times for patients who need urgent treatment.
  • Follow-up appointments will only be given where absolutely necessary, freeing up doctors’ time to treat more patients.
  • If safe and appropriate, follow up outpatients appointments will increasingly be a 'virtual' appointment.
  • All patients will have a smoking and weight assessment as part of their referral pathway for a routine ENT outpatient appointment. If necessary, they will be referred to local services for nti-smoking and weight reduction management as part of their active treatment.

Our planned care system is facing significant challenges due to a growing demand. There is a need for significant and urgent change in the system to ensure we can continue to deliver high quality health services.

The purpose of the National Planned Care Programme is to ensure services are transformed so that the NHS in Wales sees and treat the right patients, in the right place, at the right time.

– Vaughan Gething, Deputy Health Minister
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