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Developing a plan to improve the future of nursing in Wales

Nursing is the largest workforce within the NHS in Wales. Our Integrated Medium-Term Plan (IMTP) has recognised future shortages in this profession.

The challenges facing the nursing profession are significant. Morale in nursing has declined, with Royal College of Nursing members voting for industrial action for the first time. The number of additional hours nurses work is high. Nurse vacancies stand at approximately 2900, and recruitment and retention of nurses is not keeping up with the large increase in demand we have seen for our NHS services.

Nurses are employed in every part of the NHS system, and without a sustainable nursing workforce, the NHS will simply be unable to provide services to the people of Wales.

So, we’re developing a nursing workforce plan to help nursing employers recruit, train and retrain nurses to provide enough in Wales for the future.

The plan will be developed with nurses and other health professional’s input. If you have any feedback or queries, please get in touch with the team via


The plan has been split into three phases.

Phase one has looked at priority areas which have been:

  • Develop a way of knowing supply and demand for nursing over the next five years
  • Increase the number of nursing students and graduates
  • Create a retention guide and self-assessment tool for nursing employers to help retain staff
  • Increase the number of internationally recruited nurses in Wales
  • Provide resources to progress and develop supporting nurses in bands 2 to 4.

Phase two

  • Work is still being scoped out for Phase 2. However, we will deliver work based on the seven workforce strategy themes:
    • Engaged, Motivated and Healthy Workforce
    • Attraction and Recruitment
    • Seamless Workforce Model
    • Building a Digitally Ready Workforce
    • Excellent Education and Learning
    • Leadership and Succession
    • Workforce Supply and Shape.

Phase three

  • Implementation of the nursing workforce plan.


Keep an eye out for updates on our nursing workforce plan webpage.