Welsh Government have revealed they are working on a ‘specific workforce plan’ to focus on the recruitment and retention of NHS staff. 

Sam Rowlands MS for North Wales has called on Welsh Government to take measures to reduce waiting lists for hospital treatment, including addressing staffing issues in the region.

It has been discussed that NHS waiting times could take years before returning to pre-pandemic levels as pressures from covid continue to put a strain on staff. 

Staff at the Maelor Hospital have asked for understanding when it comes to the current waiting times being faced and have insisted they are doing all they can. 

READ MORE: BBC documentary highlights pressures faced by NHS in North Wales

Mr Rowlands, Shadow Minister for Local Government was speaking during a debate in the Senedd on a recent Health and Social Care Committee Report.

He said: “As someone who is not a member of the committee, I found this report extremely important, as the current waiting times across Wales impact everyone, and sadly my region of North Wales probably the most.

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“Around one in five people in Wales are on a waiting list. When looking at my region of North Wales, earlier this year in January 2022, which, of course, is going to be a peak time for a health board, but, nonetheless, there were around 148,000 patient pathways, people waiting to start treatment—148,000 people in a population of around 700,000 is quite a stark number.

“The second area when looking at the impact of waiting times, is around the recruitment and retention of staff. As we know, the retention of existing staff is a huge problem for health services at the moment, meaning that the sector continues to struggle and maintain current staffing levels, let alone increase them, and it’s certainly an issue in the region I represent in North Wales.

“Regretfully, whenever we see any waiting list statistics, it’s the people of North Wales who continue to suffer the most.”

READ MORE: More staff and facilities needed at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, report finds

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Working with health boards, we have set ambitious but realistic targets to tackle the pandemic backlog for planned care. This is backed by significant extra long-term funding.

“In addition a dedicated recovery director and team will support each health board to develop and implement their local proposals in line with the national strategy.

“Our recovery plan already sets out our aims, including how we will support patients while they wait and create a sustainable workforce with effective leadership. A specific workforce plan is also being developed to look at both recruitment and retention of staff.”