Steve Moore, the chief executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, says he cannot recall a time when there was such a short supply of health and care workers in Wales as there is now.

The health board boss who oversees healthcare services to a population of around 380,000 people across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, tells the Newcross Healthcare Voices of Care podcast that staffing issues which had been building for many years were exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Many staff went through some really difficult times and made great personal sacrifices as well. And, of course, that has a cost for people. And we’re seeing people potentially leaving earlier, reducing their time with us. And that’s something which is starting to be felt quite keenly.”

The staffing crisis, he says, has spread out from rural areas. In West Wales, this has had the knock-on effect of reducing the supply of agency staff who have been drawn away to bigger towns and cities.

Addressing staffing concerns, including reports that up to 30% of its aging staff are due to retire in the coming years, Mr Moore discusses the health board’s three-year plan to upskill and regenerate its workforce: “Trying to find ways of using digital technology to help our staff to be able to do the things that only they can do, rather than spend their time filling out forms, is a key part of what we’re trying to do to ensure that we retain staff, that we can develop them, and that staff can look after our patients.”

“We were the first to implement the Welsh nursing care record. I’ve been in the NHS for 30 years or so, and I’ve never known a digital system have such a positive impact. When we implemented it in our hospital in Haverfordwest, a nurse literally skipped down the corridor with joy about what it was going to do for our working life.”

Elsewhere on the podcast,  Mr Moore shares his thoughts on reducing staff turnover, tackling workplace burnout,  supporting the local population through the health board’s apprenticeship schemes, and the importance of inclusion in the workplace.

Separately, recent research conducted by YouGov for Newcross Healthcare, a leading provider of carers and nurses, found 75% of care workers surveyed in Wales report that their place of work is understaffed, while almost 1 in 4 (23%) said they were likely to leave the sector in the next 12 months.

Hosted by healthcare expert Suhail Mirza, the podcast episode featuring Steve Moore is available now alongside previous episodes in the series on Newcross Healthcare website  as well as onYouTube, Spotify, Apple and a range of other podcast platforms.