NURSES in Wales should receive at least a six per cent pay rise according to the Welsh Liberal Democrats following figures released by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) showing a shortage of staff.

The figures released by the RCN show that 1,719 nursing vacancies in the Welsh NHS, up from 1,612 recorded in 2020.

It was also revealed that nurses give the health service an additional 34,284 hours in overtime every week which equates to 914 full-time nurses.

In Powys, there is a shortage of 88 nurses and now Jane Dodds, the Senedd Member for Mid and West Wales, wants nurses to be paid more to aid recruitment.

“A three percent pay rise for NHS staff across Wales is a real kick in the teeth for our healthcare professionals who have been through so much throughout the pandemic," she said.

“With inflation now over 4.2 percent it is disgraceful to even call the offer a ‘pay rise’.

"In October the Welsh Government said it cannot "magic money out of the air" for nurses, yet it has managed to find significant sums of money to fund various new projects in its deal with Plaid Cymru.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for a minimum pay rise of six per cent to value our NHS workers and ensure staff shortages are resolved, not made worst at a time of intense pressure on the Welsh NHS.

“We also want to see the legacy of Kirsty Williams built on by extending the law for safe staffing levels to community nursing and in-patient mental health wards.

“At the very least Labour and Plaid Cymru should commit to matching wage rises to inflation to keep our NHS safe.

"Anything less is not only massively disrespectful to staff, but also could lead to more vacancies, lower staffing levels and patients being placed at risk.”

Helen Whyley, director at RCN Wales, said nursing vacancies in the NHS will only grow further unless the workforce is given better pay to match their mounting responsibilities.