Improving working conditions for health and care workers after the pandemic has to be part of "a wider project to give all its worker fair play", Plaid Cymru has said.
Newly released statistics indicate that absence rates within the NHS have been rising slowly since 2018, and increased significantly from April 2020 during the pandemic.
The statistics also revealed that the highest sickness absence rate of 8.4% was among Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust staff— which comes amidst reports of widespread burnout and logistical issues facing the service and its staff.
The Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Health Rhun ap Iorwerth MS called on the Welsh Government to “commit to higher pay and better working conditions”, and to act on "union calls for extra welfare support for staff in order to improve absence rates".
Mr Ap Iorwerth also noted that such changes should be “part of a wider project to dramatically improve the health and care sector as an employer”, and that fair play should be given to “all its workers”.
Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “It is clear that the ambulance service is at a crisis point in many parts of Wales, and have been severely affected by consequences of the pandemic. Staff absences are at a record high, with burnout common and a lack of support in place.
“The Welsh Government must commit to higher pay and better working conditions to ensure workers are able to maintain their roles properly and that staff retention can improve, and calls from unions for extra welfare support and measures must be acted on.
“This has to be part of a wider project to dramatically improve the health and care sector as an employer, so that fair play is given to all workers.”