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31 July 2015, 14:51
Welsh health boards are spending nearly two hundred million pounds on bringing in temporary staff to cover shortages.
Figures shared with HEART are showing the amount health boards are spending on agency staff is getting higher and higher.
Health boards say they have little choice but to plug gaps in medical rotas with temporary staff, to make sure patients get the very best care.
Alison Davies is from the Royal College of Nursing...and says Wales needs more permanent nurses...
“Nurses employed by the health board are employed under the terms and conditions of that particular employer...but for agency staff they have a different set of terms and conditions and tend to work across lots of different areas.
There are real opportunities in the future to reduce the spend on agency staff...some of things that could help that is employing and recruiting more nurses as in Wales we are approximately four thousand short."
It's thought typically agency nurses cost around 50% more than full-time nurses.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies says this money could be going on frontline services...
"What these figures show is tens of millions are being spent on agency staff rather than recruiting and importantly retaining staff, to make sure we have enough staff members in our hospitals."
The Welsh Government says the number of permanent staff has increased over the last ten years...
...and they are continuing to invest in the NHS' most valuable asset - its staff.