Promoted by Mark Ward-Jones on behalf of the Torfaen Constituency Labour Party at 27 Brunel Road, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 4QT.
In a Senedd debate in the wake of the recent OECD report, the Torfaen AM called on David Cameron to make an unreserved apology to hard-working NHS staff in Wales. The report, which examined all four health systems in the UK, put to bed the notion that services in Wales are of a different quality to those across the border in England.
The lively debate saw Lynne Neagle speaking honestly and plainly about the way in which David Cameron has talked down the Welsh NHS.
Speaking passionately of the Welsh health service and the continued investment in planned or ongoing capital funding projects in Wales, she again welcomed the latest single largest investment this year – the Cwmbran-based Specialist Critical Care Centre which will deliver a £500m hospital for Gwent and South Powys.
Lynne Neagle also spoke of the inextricable link between the NHS and social care, which has received an extra £21m in the draft budget; and where the OECD recognises the proactive data quality indicators used in Wales. Excellence in care has taken a shift towards specialist provision thanks to inroads in technology and training, which requires a planned mix of specialist hospital provision and care close to home.
Speaking in the Chamber, Lynne Neagle AM said:
“Sadly the motion before us today puts to bed any hopes I harboured that the publication of the recent OECD report on NHS systems across the UK would put a stop to the NHS being used as a political football.
The OECD report overrides those false claims from Cameron and peddled by opposition benches that services are somehow poorer in the Welsh NHS. I’m pleased that ludicrous notion has been put to bed, and I too think it is right and proper for Mr Cameron to make an unreserved apology to staff who work hard day in day out in our NHS in Wales.
This is a Welsh Labour Government that protects all parts of the NHS. Thanks to the £300m extra this year and the £1.1bn extras already invested over the past two years, we spend more per-head on health than England – fact.
There are challenges ahead of us: as the recently published OECD report re-iterated, Wales faces a demographic of higher rates of chronic illnesses, older populations and higher rates of deprivation. We will need to develop different ways of working to deal with these challenges in a sustainable way. Yet despite huge cuts from Westminster we do not underestimate that challenge nor waiver in our resolve to confront it head-on.
As recent polls put health as the number one concern for voters, I want to be clear about the way we conduct things in Wales. Our health service will always be free at the point of need, free from privatisation, and committed to the excellence in care that we need to deliver first class services to constituent; it is not an instrument to play politics with.”
Transcripts can be viewed on Senedd TV here: http://www.senedd.tv/Meeting/Archive/070c7157-18e3-483d-94a0-ee2d34395391?autostart=True
Agenda, including the motion, available here: http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=153&MId=3542&Ver=4