Monday, January 31, 2011

NHS cuts in Wales

The NHS in Wales is under attack from Labour cuts,  £435 million each year for the next three years.  Labour's performance on the NHS in North Wales is dismal, with proposals for neurosurgery patients having to travel to South Wales (an ambulance journey of over 6 hours) rather than be able to receive treatment at the Walton Hospital in Liverpool, this daft plan from Edwina Hart was only pulled after howls of protest.   Why Ms Hart ever thought the idea was a good one was a mystery to me, but might have had something to do with the fact that she didnt want to have to decide between neurosurgery provision at both Cardiff and Swansea.

There is no children's hospital in North Wales, just over the border in England is world class Alder Hay, yet no proper provisions have been made by WAG for cross border health services.  The record of Labour on health is dismal there has been an increase in Managers in the NHS in Wales of 20% in the last 5 years.  Depressingly there has been a decline in the number of nurses, midwives and health Visitors of 24% in the same period.  For those living in England who want to know what a Labour Government would do for the Health Service, you can see it here in Wales: cuts of up to £1 billion over the next three years, underfunded stroke services, hospices with far lower funding than their English counterparts, and an explosion of money being moved from frontline services to management and bureacracy.  Here in North Wales maternity services are under threat at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd and the Maelor. Recently bed cuts have been announced at Glan Clwyd under the guise of "refurbishment". Ambulance targets have been missed so many times it is a joke.

The Welsh Conservatives are committed to retaining funding for the NHS in Wales, and would increase funding for stroke services and hospices, by introducing prescription charges for those that can afford to pay for them.  Anyone who previously did not have to pay prescription charges, such as pensioners, children, those on benefits, or those with chronic conditions would not have to pay for their prescriptions.

One thing is clear Labour's record on the NHS in Wales has been dreadful for those living in Wales.  There is now an opportunity for change with the upcoming Welsh Assembly elections.  Perhaps this is why Ed Balls wont be drawn on his cuts agenda, Labours approach is there for all to see in Wales.  Even Labour's Shadow Health Minister in England, John Healy MP agrees in a template press release saying "patients in North Wales will start to see local health services go backwards".