Oncology vacancy rates point to “deeper issue” in NHS Wales workforce crisis

The Labour Welsh Government has failed patients in Wales through a lack of strategy on the workforce crisis in NHS Wales, says Plaid Acting Leader Llyr Gruffydd MS.

Recent figures from the Royal College of Radiologists show that Wales currently has an oncology vacancy rate of 11%, with 80% of these vacancies having remained unfilled for over 6 months.

While Welsh Government has often asserted that NHS Wales workforce is ‘at record levels’, figures obtained by Plaid Cymru show a trend in which levels of administrative and clerical staff has risen to compensate for decreases in levels of medical and dental staff.

Mr Gruffydd has called on Welsh Government to provide an urgent update on “a fully costed plan for a reservist workforce model” which was promised by April 2023, but so far funding has not yet been identified.

Mr Gruffydd is expected to raise these points with the First Minister during Plenary today (Tuesday 13 June).

Plaid Cymru’s Acting Leader Llyr Gruffydd MS said:

“We have a crisis in our NHS. Record breaking waiting times, longest ever ambulance response times, and a desperately depleted workforce – Labour have failed to tackle the crisis in our NHS, and it’s the patients and staff who are suffering.

“While Welsh Government insist there are ‘record numbers’ employed in the NHS, something doesn’t add up, especially in oncology. It’s not just the vacancies in front line staff, it’s the time it takes to fill positions. If the current trend continues, Wales could be facing a shortfall of 41% within just four years – far greater than any other UK nation.

“Information obtained by Plaid Cymru suggests that the overall increase in staffing levels in our NHS are more to do with increases in admin roles, rather than front-line workers. What Wales needs is a targeted and strategic approach to solving this crisis in our NHS workforce, rather than simply throwing more bureaucrats at the problem!

“Welsh Government has set ambitious targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment, but when they have missed their deadline for providing costings for their workforce plan, it calls into question how they hope to achieve this.”

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