Posted: Sat 28th Jan 2023

North Wales MS pushes for new not-for-profit agency to cut costs for NHS on ‘eye-watering’ private fees

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jan 28th, 2023

A North Wales MS is calling for a new not-for-profit agency to be set up to provide staffing cover and save money for the NHS.

Llyr Gruffydd, who represents the region in the Senedd, spoke out after hearing Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), spent an “eye-watering” £48.8 million on agency and bank staff supplied by privately-run companies in 2021-22.

According to new figures, the Welsh NHS spent a total of £260m on agency and bank staff in the past year to fill gaps in its rotas.

The only health board in Wales to spend more than BCUHB on agency and bank staff in 2021-22 was Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which covers south-east Wales, with £57.5m.

Mr. Gruffydd argues that the current system for providing staffing cover is “contributing to the problem” and “worsening the crisis in the NHS”.



He believes that a new not-for-profit agency, similar to the one already established in the education sector, would provide a more sustainable solution.

The radical proposal is part of a five-point plan published by Plaid Cymru to address the current crisis in the NHS.

The plan includes providing a fair deal for NHS workers to create the foundation for a sustainable health and care service, making the NHS an attractive place to work, and significantly elevating the prominence and priority given to preventative health measures.

Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “The current system for providing staffing cover to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board isn’t even penny wise, and it’s pound foolish to the tune of tens of millions.”

“The money that is squandered on private fees could and should be invested in frontline services and in ensuring health workers get a fair and liveable wage.”

Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS, said: “There is a health crisis in Wales for which new thinking is required – a health crisis which Welsh Government cannot admit exists in the first place.”

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, said: “Plaid Cymru’s proposals get to the heart of the issue.”

“NHS workers are the bedrock of our health service but that foundation has been shaken by years of real terms pay cuts and lack of adequate workforce planning.”

“Paying them a fair wage has to be at the start of the process and that’s why it’s the first point in our plan. Without our health and care workers, we have no NHS.”

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