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The Growing Demand for Agency Nurses in Wales

  • Date: Aug 08, 2023
  • Author: Chloe Meredith
  • Tags: Agency Nurse,Nurse,NHS,NHS Wales,Agency Nursing in Wales,Nursing Jobs,Nursing Jobs Near Me,Nursing Jobs in Wales

In recent years, the demand for agency nurses has increased significantly in Wales due to a number of factors. The primary factors leading to this growth in demand are an aging population and a growing population. In addition, there is currently a shortfall in staff nurses in the National Health Service (NHS). This blog will provide an overview of the current healthcare system in Wales, discuss how agency nurses can be a support system, and delve deeper into the reasons why there has been an increase in demand for agency nurses.

Overview of the Current Healthcare System in Wales

The Wales NHS is made up of seven health boards and three independent healthcare organisations which provide free healthcare services for all Welsh residents. Healthcare services are funded by the Welsh Government, which also provides financial support for school health services, research, and development. The health boards and independent healthcare organisations, employ temporary staff including agency nurses to provide additional support when necessary. The demand for agency nurses in Wales has increased in recent years due to the growing population and aging population. In addition, the NHS is facing a shortage of nurses due to an increased number of retirements and an exodus to other countries.

Evidence Supporting the Growing Demand for Agency Nurses

There is evidence to support the growing demand for agency nurses in Wales. According to RCN Wales estimations based on vacancy data found in health board papers, the number of registered nurse vacancies in NHS Wales in 2021 was estimated to be at least 1,719. However, RCN Wales estimates that around the end of 2022, there were at least 2,900 registered nurse vacancies in NHS Wales alone. Thus, showing a significant growth of 69% in the demand for RGNs.

A shortage of registered nurses only puts strain on the current workforce, and this is then when overtime needs to be considered. As reported by RCN Wales, six out of seven health boards collectively spent over £23 million on nursing and midwifery overtime in 2020/2021, as opposed to £13 million in the previous year - a rise of £10 million.

To help the burnout of direct staff and to fulfill patients' needs, health boards then turn to agency nurses to help. According to the Royal College of Nursing, NHS Wales spent an average of £140 million on agency nursing during 2021/22, based on (FOI) requests. This illustrates the heavy reliance on agency staff.

Reasons for the Growing Demand for Agency Nurses

The demand for agency nurses in Wales has significantly increased over the past few years and the main reasons for this are:

  • Staff shortages: There is a current shortage of registered nurses in Wales, with estimates from the Royal College of Nursing showing that there is a gap of around 2,900 nurses in the country. This shortage is due to a combination of factors, including a lack of incentives to motivate prospective nurses to move to Wales and the long training period needed to become registered nurses.
  • Aging population: As people live longer, there is an increased need for healthcare and medical services. This means an increased demand for agency nurses as it puts a strain on existing nurses, who are often unable to meet the increased demand.
  • Increased workload: There has been an increase in nursing workload in the last decade as nursing staff are now caring for an aging population with increased dependency and comorbidities. In order to keep up with the increasing patient needs, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are hiring more nurses at all levels to meet the growing workload and tackle burnout that nurses are facing.


So, why Vetro? 

Vetro Nursing is a registered nursing agency with compliance and safeguarding at the heart of everything we do. Our nursing recruitment team consists of Registered Nurses with extensive nursing experience, so they have a strong understanding of the working environments, and the challenges the nursing industry is facing, they have been there! Our consultants work with you to find you the roles that you are looking for and offer full support with the registration process, training, safeguarding, appraisals, and revalidation process.

We work with NHS hospitals, secure forensic services, nursing homes, CAMHS, and rehabilitation services. Whether you are looking for ad-hoc nursing shifts, short-term or long-term contracts, we can support you in finding your next role. However, if you are not looking for yourself but maybe know someone that is, you can earn up to £500 for referring them using our referral scheme.

With the large volumes of temporary nursing shifts we have available, there really has never been a better time to register with Vetro Nursing.

Click here to view our live nursing vacancies and apply now!



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