CONCERNS have been raised by Ysbyty Gwynedd nurses regarding the poor treatment of staff at the hospital and the conditions they are being forced to work in.

Several anonymous nurses raised concerns with Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth about the hospital’s working conditions, including 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.

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Having brought the matter up in the Senedd last week, Mr ap Iorwerth received correspondence from several more nurses employed at the hospital, who supported him but wish to remain anonymous.

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

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In a letter sent by Mr ap Iorwerth to Jo Whitehead, Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), and Mark Polin, Chair of BCUHB, the Ynys Môn MS highlighted several areas that need addressing.

Part of the letter read: “I’ve never experienced such an outpouring of concerns from as many nurses, and with real consistency in what they tell me.

“Here are some examples: Staff redeployment – staff moved from their wards/areas of expertise, including high dependency, to other wards on a regular basis; Agency workers treated differently – not having to move between different areas; Low staffing numbers; High numbers of staff leaving; Low morale; Staff concerns ignored; Staff intimidation by senior management; Regular long hours (unpaid overtime); Imbalance between high number of non-clinical matrons and nurses; and Poor working conditions – lack of access to water, rest facilities etc.”

Jo Whitehead, Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are taking these concerns very seriously and are undertaking an immediate review into them.

North Wales Pioneer: Rhun ap Iorwerth MS.Rhun ap Iorwerth MS.

“We are committed to ensuring that all staff feel safe to raise concerns in a way that enables us to improve as an organisation and as an employer.

“Having listened to staff feedback, we recently introduced a new Speak Out Safely process, supported by a range of mechanisms to enable staff to raise issues anonymously but also enabling us to communicate with them to ensure they can be clear on what is being done to address these concerns.

“It is clear that not all staff feel that it is safe to speak out. It is important to us that we continue to improve the confidence of colleagues that their concerns will be addressed in a constructive way.”

The Ynys Môn MS feels more must be done, adding 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”.

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“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.”