Health and Social Care

We need to save our Welsh NHS

21 years of devolution in Wales, 21 years of NHS devolution in Wales. Surely by now the Labour administration have finally got it right in Wales? Think again writes Gareth Davies.

Our Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament Paul Davies MS passionately said in his speech to Welsh Conference delegates in Llangollen that “devolution has not failed Wales, Welsh Labour has failed Wales,” and this message is no more apparent than when it comes to health & social care in Wales. Devolved in 1999 following the creation of the inaugural Welsh Assembly it was supposed to be the cornerstone and the Pride of Wales where standards would be driven up by locally elected politicians and professionals for the benefit of the length and breadth of the country. 

Unfortunately what we’ve seen in this time is little of its kind with falling standards, longer waiting times for A&E with ambulances parked outside hospitals like a grand entourage and patients receiving treatments in the back of a van or on a trolley in a corridor. On 23rd January this year BBC Wales reported that in December 2019 waiting times for A&E departments in Wales were at its worst on record with only 72.1% of patients waiting under the four hour waiting target. It may be worth noting that the target is for 95% of patients to be seen in this time, and that this target has never been met since they began in 2008. In response to this Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething MS announced a £10million cash injection in a poor attempt to alleviate pressures, in the grand scheme of things £10million is a drop in the ocean compared to the £8bn budget for NHS Wales. 

That is only one keynote headline as result of a culmination of Welsh Government failures but many others have long been the case under Labour in Wales including half a decade of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board being in special measures with no roadmap out, centralised and bureaucratic recruitment methods with delays in the hiring of vital nurses and healthcare professionals, longer GP waiting times in local surgeries, GP recruitment being harboured due to unattractive working conditions and IT systems to name a few. 

This is probably a good time to note that I love the NHS, I’ve worked for them all of my working life since 2010 and feel passionate about having a better health and social care system in Wales that works for everyone no matter what part of the country you are from and whatever your ailment(s) or problem(s) maybe. The staff in all the professions I’ve ever met are all passionate and love what they do for people day in day out, but in order to make this easier and more achievable at a sustainable level we need to make the environment right for it to happen. Cutting red tape and bureaucracy, getting more frontline staff on the wards rather than recruiting more tiers of management and faceless bureaucrats, promoting local healthcare so patients can receive care closer to home. These are just a few of my personal ideas that I believe would benefit the NHS in Wales in the long term and would like to work at achieving if elected to the Welsh Parliament for the Vale of Clwyd in May 2021. The NHS is one of the reasons I got into politics in the first place and I’m committed to seeing proactivity and positive change that hasn’t been the case in over two decades of Welsh Labour rule.

Covid -19 is a new pandemic that has surprised and rocked the globe during 2020 with all Governments across the world scrambling to find their leading Epidemiologist in an attempt to defeat the virus, and provide a roadmap out of lockdown to get the economy moving again whilst ensuring the health and safety of its citizens, simple right? This monumental task is a challenge for any government with Wales and the UK being no different. But with lockdown restrictions easing it can be time to have a period of reflection, and looking back over the last few months we can see the disparity between the Welsh and UK governments in testing, easing of lockdown restrictions, and the threat to business in Wales with a dawdling Labour Government that have not given two thoughts to the welfare of vital business that provide so much to our economy and tourism sector who play such an important part in our beautiful country. Experts say the best contact tracing systems rely on results coming back within 24 hours but latest statistics show that mere 27% of tests have been returned in this period with frontline healthcare staff and the general public receiving delay after delay in their test results putting patients and the public at a higher risk of contracting the virus. The Welsh Labour Government need to up their game! 

Looking forward to next years Welsh Parliament elections I believe that we as Welsh Conservatives have a fantastic opportunity to end the one party state in Wales and bring to end over two decades of Welsh Labour rule that has held our great country back for far too long. December’s General Election result proved that we have the capability to do just that but we cannot rest on our laurels. We have to be out there knocking on as many doors and speaking to as many people as we can to get home that message that Labour have let Wales down in their devolved duties and that our country can do so much better when we unleash Wales’s potential not just in health and social care but in all walks of society. We have a fantastic and passionate leader in Paul Davies and I’ll be helping him all I can to get him into the First Ministers office to show what Wales can really achieve.

Gareth Davies is the prospective Conservative candidate for the Vale of Clwyd in the 2021 Senedd elections.

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