After highlighting concerns by Ysbyty Gwynedd nurses about working conditions and treatment of staff, Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for action by Betsi Cadwaladr

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Ynys Môn’s Member of the Senedd and Plaid Cymru spokesperson on Health and Care, has written to the Chief Executive and Chair of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board asking for serious and urgent action after receiving an anonymous email outlining concerns about the working conditions of nurses at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Rhun ap Iorwerth initially raised his concerns with the Health Minister, Eluned Morgan MS in the Senedd last week, where he asked for an assurance that the concerns – which include bullying in the workplace, pressure to move from specialist areas to other wards and departments placing patients at risk, unreasonably long working hours, a poor relationship with management resulting in low morale and many staff leaving – would be taken seriously.

As a result of that contribution in the Senedd, many more nurses have been in touch with the Ynys Môn MS, to thank him for bringing up the matter, and to bravely share their experiences, echoing concerns raised by the whistle blower who initially got in touch.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn said:

“I was deeply saddened to learn about the very serious concerns of our nurses. Initially one nurse gathered together evidence from her colleagues and passed them to me anonymously as they were so fearful of repercussions.

“After I brought them to the attention of the Health Minister in the Senedd, nurse after nurse made contact with me to confirm and emphasise the concerns.

“I have therefore written to BCUHB, calling on them to conduct an independent investigation. It’s clear to me that there’s a lack of trust in the Health Board’s whistleblowing processes, and our nurses must be given the opportunity to be heard.

Amongst the correspondence received, many nurses have confirmed that they have left their posts at Ysbyty Gwynedd or the profession entirely, and many have stated that they are actively considering handing in their notice.

A nurse who initially contacted the Anglesey MS to express her concerns said:

“We as a workforce wanted to raise an anonymous concern about our working conditions at Ysbyty Gwynedd and contacted Rhun ap Iorwerth to that effect.

“Burnout is at an all time high at the site amongst nurses and other healthcare workers, and staff morale has never been so low. Many have chosen to leave their posts. We already work long hours and then feel pressured to take on more shifts – often redeployed to areas where we do not specialise – to help with staffing shortages. It is impossible to possess a high standard of nursing knowledge for every speciality that an individual could be covering from one day to the next.

“The situation has been escalating for years and has now reached a crisis stage with no solution.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added:

“What’s hugely worrying is the impact that the current working conditions are having on staff numbers and morale. Some have concluded that they want to leave their posts, and that many have already left.

“At a time when we face staff shortages following the pandemic, we need to be looking at new ways of attracting new nurses to the profession and increasing training places. But we must also be able to retain the staff we already have, with their invaluable experience and knowledge.”