Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has called for minimum nursing staff levels to be enforced by law.
The Western Mail reports that "while Wales has 10.5 patients per nurse, Scotland has 8.8, England 8.5 and Northern Ireland 7.2.
Wales’ proportion of nurses as a percentage of staff also trails behind, with 56% compared to England’s 59%, Scotland’s 60% and Northern Ireland’s 66%.
The proposed legislation would require the government to set a minimum staffing level for nurses, similar to laws introduced in California and in two Australian states - which Ms Williams said had reduced mortality levels.
"The levels would be set by an independent body and would take into account the circumstances of each Health Board or hospital area.
Ms Williams said: 'I believe we are capable of meeting the levels. We do have enough nurses in the workforce but many are leaving the [National Health] Service because of issues of pressure, professional challenge and cannot deliver the care they need to and patients require.'
"Peter Meredith-Smith, acting director of RCN Wales said: 'The Royal College of Nursing in Wales is delighted that Kirsty Williams’ proposal for legislation on minimum nurse staffing levels in Welsh hospitals has been selected for debate at the National Assembly for Wales. The RCN has long called for the Welsh Government to set mandatory nurse staffing levels in order to ensure that patients receive the highest possible standards of care in the Welsh Health Service.'”