English NHS failures fuelling Welsh NHS crisis

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Plaid Cymru attacks ‘political establishment’ on NHS failings

Wales’ NHS crisis is the result of a chaotic Tory UK Government adding fuel to a fire of incompetence in the Labour Welsh Government, according to Plaid Cymru.

The party’s health spokesperson in Westminster, Hywel Williams, accused the Westminster Government of putting the NHS at risk by neglecting local authority-delivered services. Such neglect is leading to severe budget constraints in Wales which, when coupled with “long-term incompetence and mismanagement” within the Labour Welsh Government, is fuelling the Welsh health crisis.

Local authorities deliver crucial services such as social care that keeps the elderly out of hospital and keeps hospital stays as short as possible. They deliver housing services that tackle poor quality housing and over-crowding, environmental services that prevent ill health and disease, and thanks to Tory reform, many public health services as well. All of these services prevent ill health, and promote recovery from ill health.

The Arfon MP warned that England’s A&E crisis is not caused purely by the budgetary constraints on the NHS but by the budgetary constraints on local authorities thanks to years of unnecessary Westminster imposed-austerity. He urged a change of course in Westminster to ease the impact on Welsh services.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Health spokesperson in Westminster, Hywel Williams, said:

“The Welsh health crisis is the result of a chaotic Tory government in Westminster adding fuel to a fire of incompetence in the Labour Welsh Government.

“Budget constraints in Westminster have had, and continue to have, a severe impact on the Welsh Government’s budget, despite health being devolved.

“What the political establishment in both Westminster and in the Welsh Government consistently fail to understand is that local authorities are crucial providers of healthcare services such as social care that keeps the elderly out of hospital and keeps hospital stays as short as possible. They deliver housing services that tackle poor quality housing and over-crowding, environmental services that prevent ill health and disease, and thanks to Tory reform, many public health services as well. All of these services prevent ill health, and promote recovery from ill health.

“Claiming to protect the health service when only protecting one aspect of it in the NHS, and doing so by cutting the wider ecosystem of health services is deeply misleading and dangerous. The fact that Westminster has been claiming to be doing this since 2010, unchallenged, is evidence that the UK’s political system is failing in its job to scrutinise and properly report issues of public importance.

“Local authorities in England have lost 27 per cent of their spending power since 2010. Some services, such as those focused on preventative care and discretionary social care have been cut by 45 per cent. These severe cuts to critical services has a direct impact on the Welsh Government’s budget and, when coupled with long-term incompetence and mismanagement within the Labour Welsh Government, is leading Wales’ health service to crisis point.

“Wales is experiencing an A&E crisis that is “as bad, if not worse” than the English situation, according to the Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Our shortage of doctors is even worse thanks to Labour’s inability properly plan the NHS workforce for the whole of Wales.

“Despite spending more on health and social care in Wales than is spent in many English regions, it is not being spent wisely by the Labour Welsh Government. The people of Wales are being put at risk by an incompetent political establishment.

“It says it all that the Labour Party in Westminster – the so-called ‘official opposition’ - called a debate on more money for health services, and then allowed a Tory amendment deleting their calls to be passed unopposed.

“Wales needs a competent government that uses taxpayers’ money wisely. A Plaid Cymru government would integrate health and social care, recognising the inextricable link between the two, and recruit 1,000 new doctors and 5,000 new nurses to work in the Welsh NHS.

“Training and recruiting more staff in Wales is especially important with Brexit threatening recruitment from abroad. An essential step would be to establish a medical school in North Wales to train a range of health professionals. The Labour Government in Cardiff has promised this development for many years but, shamefully, has yet to deliver.”

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