A HEALTH board has defended the amount of adminstrators it has, amid a claim more “frontline staff” are needed.

Figures show the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board employs 2,578 administrative and clerical staff – which includes managers – making up 18 per cent of the total 14,019 employees.

The largest staffing group is nursing and midwifery, making up 32 per cent of the total.

Monmouthshire councillor Armand Watts praised staff who work for the health board, but said that “accountants cannot run wards.”

“They now have more managers in the health board than beds and we all know there is a massive shortage of beds and people are waiting for months and months for key operations,” Cllr Watts said.

“With Christmas coming up there will almost certainly be even more pressure on the health board to respond to this ongoing crisis.

“If they can streamline management they have an opportunity to invest in frontline services and access more beds.”

Cllr Watts claimed the fact there are “more managers than beds” suggested the health board has “got their priorities wrong.”

Figures show there are currently 1,565 beds available at health board hospitals – the Royal Gwent Hospital and St Woolos Hospital, Nevill Hall, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr and The Grange University Hospital.

This number is expected to fall to 1,486 in the future.

But a spokesman for the health board said it is “unreasonable” to compare bed numbers with staff numbers.

“Hospital beds represent an important part of the services we provide,” the spokesman said.

“However, the majority of people we care for are not inpatients in our hospitals.”

The spokesman said administrative and clerical staff, which include managers, play important roles in “enabling us to deliver the highest quality of health services to our local communities.”

“They are vital members of our teams who support and enable our clinicians to provide care for our patients,” the spokesman added.