Welsh Assembly Member for Arfon Siân Gwenllian and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services Helen Mary Jones AM, met with students and lecturers at Bangor University School of Health Sciences today, as concerns mount over proposed cuts to the Learning Disability lecturing team at Bangor University.
Siân Gwenllian has received representations from lecturers and students, concerned that changes to the Learning Disability Nursing course could lead to a reduction in the provision of specialist nursing training and the long-term impact on care for people living with learning disabilities across North Wales, despite demand for learning disability nurses across North Wales increasing.
Concerns have also been voiced about the impact such changes would have on students wishing to study the course through the medium of Welsh and the sustainability of teaching across both Bangor and Wrexham campuses if staffing cuts are implemented.
Siân Gwenllian AM and Helen Mary Jones AM said: “We met today with nursing students and staff at Bangor University School of Health Sciences who have voiced grave concerns about a threat to the learning disability nursing course because of cutbacks at the University.
‘”At a time when we need far more nurses in north Wales to fill hundreds of vacancies, this threat to the bilingual training and support of our future frontline healthcare providers is alarming.’
“People with a learning disability are entitled to the same rights of access to services as the general population. If nurses’ training is detrimentally affected in any way, this will undoubtedly have an impact on the provision of long-term front-line services.
“We are talking here about a significant disinvestment in a service which supports one of the most vulnerable groups in society. A cut in resources is a cut in the ability to provide sufficient care.
“This proposal flies in the face of Welsh Government policy to increase the number of practicing nurses across Wales. How can we build upon the fantastic cohort of specialist nurses if those tasked with training our healthcare professionals are undermined in this way?
“It is therefore vital that the current provision of specialist nursing care is maintained in Bangor and across north Wales so that the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens are safeguarded.
“We are taking this matter up with the Chair of Bangor University Council and have written to the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething to convey our concerns and those of our constituents.
“We are grateful to the students and staff in Bangor for bringing this pressing matter to our attention and we will be following this up as a matter of urgency.’”