Current affairs series presented by Bethan Rhys Roberts. Is there a recruitment crisis in the Welsh NHS? And does the Welsh media adequately reflect life in Wales?
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Tonight on the Wales Report: Warnings from experts that the Welsh
NHS is facing a recruitment crisis, with essential services being put at
risk. We investigate. One year on, what impact are the UK
Government's welfare changes having on Welsh communities? And Wales on
screen. Is Welsh life being adequately reflected in the media?
Stay with us for the Wales Report. Good evening and welcome back to the
Wales Report. On tonight's programme, does Wales have enough
doctors and nurses to run the health service effectively? According to
many in the sector, the NHS in Wales is facing severe problems when it
comes to recruiting and retaining staff in hospitals, general practice
and nursing. Experts say the situation is now at crisis point,
and this summer could see GP practices closing and hospitals
unable to offer certain services. Helen Callaghan has been
investigating. When you are ill, you expect the
place where you are being looked after to be fully staffed with the
best people. But there are serious concerns this is not happening in
Wales and we have been told that recruitment robins are fat in the
entire NHS -- recruitment problems are affecting.
I think you have to look at the man and and whether the demand outstrip
the resource and it does. The situation is at breaking point. I
would describe it as a perfect storm.
We can look at the Labour record in Wales. With the Welsh NHS under
constant attack, allegations of a recruitment crisis are the blow.
The Health Minister is adamant there is not one but that is not what X
votes -- experts have told this programme. Doctor Banfield is a
consultant who trains junior doctors. He has also -- he is also
chair of the medical Association in Wales. He says a lack of hospital
doctors could cause severe problems this summer.
There is a crisis how and it will precipitate out in August of next
year. Hospitals will have difficulty recruiting for specific specialties
and our concern is that health boards will then use that as an
excuse to close services based on safety issues.
Doctor Banfield says the cause of this problem is twofold. Wales does
not attract enough trainee doctors. And those who do qualify here do not
stay. The reality is that Wales is not
physically large enough to provide specialist training, so junior
doctors at some point have to leave Wales in order to get a training
across a wider experience. He says the problem is they do not return
and more needs to be done to encourage them back.
Welsh Government and health boards are perfectly aware of the problems
they have got and what we need is to get them together with the
profession and the higher education institutions, the universities, to
plan their way out of this. When it comes to general practice,
Doctor Charlotte Jones says there simply are not enough doctors across
Wales to meet demand. GPs are absolutely on their knees. Their
workload is saturated, demand is ever-increasing. The expectations
placed on GPs are ever-increasing. The complexes the lovely type of
work we do as well as less complex work but lots of demand means that
we are actually completely stretched to capacity -- the complexity of the
type of work. She says this affects the whole of
Wales. The Wales report has seen the initial findings of an ongoing
survey which suggests there will be a worrying shortage of doctors in
the next five years. Of the 282 GPs practices already questioned, a
third say that they have a vacancy to be filled over the next 12
months. What I am concerned about is Will there be GP practices shutting?
What we need to see is a significant investment within the recruitment
and retention of GPs right now, as well as looking into the medium and
long-term. The Royal College agrees. Surgeries are underfunded. Their
latest research suggests more money is needed to bring the nub of
doctors in Wales back to adequate levels. -- number.
We will have to spend an extra ?140 million over the coming years. The
pressure is taking its toll. Some GPs are burning out and others are
even taking early retirement. They simply cannot take any more in
the job and that is so hard to see. It is so unnecessary really. If the
problems were addressed properly and sustainably, then I think that we
would have a flourishing Welsh general practice, which is what we
all want. Many nurses across Wales are
complaining they are overwhelmed by the pressures of understaffing.
Latest research from the Royal College of Nursing shows they are
doing more unpaid overtime because there are not enough staff and that
each nurse in Wales treats more patients than those working in other
parts of the UK. When anything goes wrong, it is the sing staff that are
heralded up for not giving appropriate care and poor care. --
nursing staff. But when we examine quite a number of those issues, it
is down to resources. And nurses themselves are saying, I am fed at
going home at the end of the day feeling that I have not cut the time
to care. Budget restraints have led to intermittent recruitment freezes
across some health boards. Instead of taking
Bethan Rhys Roberts presents a current affairs series taking a look at issues that matter in Wales and holds decision-makers to account. Plus, the team delve into the pressing matters affecting everyone in Wales.
Is there a recruitment crisis in the Welsh NHS? And does the Welsh media adequately reflect life in Wales?