NHS in Wales dominates PMQs at Westminster

 
Owen Smith MP Owen Smith on TV

The NHS in Wales may be the responsibility of the Welsh government in Cardiff but it remains a political football at Westminster.

David Cameron's default response to criticism of the NHS in England is to criticise Labour's record on health in Wales. The issue dominated prime minister's questions today after Ed Miliband chose to highlight problems in English accident and emergency services.

David Cameron told MPs: "There is one part of the country where Labour have been in charge of the NHS for the last three years that is Wales where they haven't hit an A and E target since 2009 - perhaps he'd [Miliband] apologise for that.

"Labour's official policy is to cut spending on the NHS just like they're cutting spending on the NHS in Wales, where waiting times are up, , waiting lists are up and quality is down too. That is what is happening in the NHS under Labour."

He added: "Let us examine the NHS in Labour's hands in Wales. Here are the figures. The NHS budget: is it being increased? No, it's being cut. By 8 per cent by Labour.

"Last time the urgent cancer care treatment was met in Wales, anyone? 2008. Last time A and E targets were met? 2009. The Welsh ambulance service has missed its call-out target for the last 10 months and of course there is no cancer drugs fund.

"That is what you get under Labour. Cuts to our NHS, longer waiting lists and all the problems we saw at the Stafford Hospital would be repeated all over again."

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith gave Labour's response in a Westminster TV studio (as seen in a Cardiff department store). He said the prime minister was wrong. "The Welsh government deploys the money that it is given by the parliament here in Westminster.

"The prime minister has cut the budget of the Welsh National Assembly by £2bn over the spending period. So if there have been tough decisions made within Wales it is because the overall envelope has been cut

"Within Wales, the gove

rnment took a decision to, within their spending envelope, to increase spending on education and cut by one per cent spending on health because we felt in Wales that having tripled spending on health over the period of the Labour government our priority ought to be on education where we need to make significant improvements in the schools in Wales."

Mr Smith said that on other measures such as infection rates Welsh hospitals were doing extremely well. But sitting alongside the Pontypridd MP was Mark Harper, the immigration minister whose Forest of Dean constituency neighbours Wales.

Mr Harper said he had a number of constituents registered with GPs in Wales who were told they had to use the Welsh NHS. "Almost universally they don't particularly want to because they think the service is worse, they have to wait for longer, their experience has been worse."

Devolved or not, there's a taste of some of the arguments we're likely to hear at the Welsh Conservative conference in Swansea this weekend.

 
David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

They think it's all over. It is now.

Welsh Secretary David Jones and his deputy Stephen Crabb have been answering MPs' questions for the last time before the summer recess.

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 56.

    Going to a WM school isn't compulsory. Taking Welsh is. And the point about call centres is ridiculous. You may have noticed that the markets for call-centre staff and hospital consultants don't overlap.
    I am sorry to hear about your mother. But I am not sure what point you are making. I hope that it isn't that all consultants in Wales should be Welsh-speaking.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 55.

    39.Boxer_the_Horse
    Boxer what evidence do you have that shows its putting people off coming to Wales.There's no such stats..96% of inward migration is from Eng. Welsh easy target coz people can get away with saying things perhaps they wouldn't get away with if it was another language or Country. My mam has cancer but its a comfort to her that the consultant speaks Welsh is that wrong??

  • rate this
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    Comment number 54.

    I see the BBC is proposing putting significant amounts of Welsh on BBC1 Wales. Has the top floor noticed that this isn't 1953, when we coud only get one channel. Switch to BBc London and Problem Solved; Social Engineering thwarted.
    If they really want to promote Welsh, make good programs and use sub titles. Worked for Swedish and Danish. Tak, Tack. What is the Welsh ??

  • rate this
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    Comment number 53.

    39.Boxer_the_Horse
    Boxer going to a bilingual school is not compulsory and what evidence do you have that shows its putting people off coming to Wales. There's no such stats. The recent 400 jobs created in Call Centres which is a communication industry suggests not. 96% of inward migration is from England!!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 52.

    39.Boxer_the_Horse

    That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 51.

    Oh and Celt. The invasive procedure had a possibility of leaving me with a Stroke. Now tell me what would you do. letting some one do that who had difficulty reading your notes and you couldn't understand what he was saying. Liking or not liking foreigners or anyone else has got nothing to do with it Grow up.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 50.

    Celt I really don't get you logic sometimes I honestly couldn't understand him. Afterwards I was told he wanted me to have an invasive procedure. I am stating the facts exactly as they were. What would you have done. Instead of giving such pathetic and imature answers please tell me. What would you have done. It took him literally ten minutes to read a letter of referral and rubbing his head.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 49.

    Errrr no. The SWMP regulations were introduced to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. It had nothing to do with fly tipping. The facts are that WG fulfills no useful fucntion whatever other than to cause confusion and destroy business. Business pays the taxes that pay the wages of the WG turkeys who continue to vote for Christmas.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 48.

    #47 " the WG is introducing new red tape for builders "
    Unfortunately, some new measures are needed because fly-tipping of undegradable builders' rubble is ugly to leave and expensive to clear up. The builders appear to tell us that red-tape will mean that they are undercut by cowboys. So, random stopping of builders' vans and large fines if they are carrying rubble without a certificate.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 47.

    Alf, you really don't like foreigners do you? "East Europeans", French and the English. Meanwhile, I see another big employer in Newport has gone bust and the WG is introducing new red tape for builders. Anyone smell the coffee yet?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    ABMUHA is also a Teaching Authority status.. I don't know what their situation is. But I recently went to see a Doctor who was eastern European. You know what we came from there more ignorant of my complaint than before we went in. I couldn't understand a word he said. He was ages reading my reports and scratching his head. So if that is the future pretty help us.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 45.

    #44 Yes. Cardiff has little difficulty getting consultants because of teaching hospital status and opportunities for private practice.
    BTW I worked in the NHS in the 60s when NHS hospitals had private beds. "Mr Jenkins' patients" expected - and often got - better treatment and queue jumping from NHS staff who weren't paid. Also costs for private patients mysteriously vanished on accounts

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 44.

    Ok, but is it, or is it not, less lucrative for senior Doctors or Consultants to come to Wales and work. Because of the very high sickness and disablity rates and unemployment. Therfore making it less, lucrative for them setting up Private Pracrices to work with and alongside the NHS Hospitals.Which means they would be able to earn more money in areas of higher affluence and less work for them.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 43.

    #41 " of course you only look for an angle to criticise the Welsh Language "
    No-one is criticising the Welsh Language. No more than anyone is criticising Friesan, Icelandic or Romansh. Do Swiss drug companies publish research reports in Romansh ?? I bet that they don't even publish them in French or German. So why can't our Nat friends acknowledge that NHS(W) publishing science in Welsh is nuts.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 42.

    Most started in April 2013. Do you have a problem with the French? Actually quite a few do but the fact they are French is a red herring, You are right as a WELSH person living in Wales my instinct is to attack the Welsh Governent (not the langauge) as it is a DISASTER funded by ME!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 41.

    Celt please keep in touch. The changes started a few years ago. Haven't you heard. JSA. ESA from IB. Fit notes instead of sick notes. Assessments with Atos a French Company. Foodbanks. Benefit Scrounger/Scum campaign by Government and Media this last couple of years. Ah but of course you only look for an angle to criticise the Welsh Language and Government. Keep up at the back there.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 40.

    36. As usual don't let the facts get in the way of an emtional rant. Decimate the benefits system? Public spending continues to INCREASE and the benefit changes only kicked in 3 weeks ago. Hardly long enough to drive people to starvation.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 39.

    #38 The simple fact is that Wales finds it more difficult to recruit consultants because of compulsory WM schooling de facto in many areas. No-one becomes a consultant without several house moves and are usually approaching their forties on appointment. So they will have kids ~11yrs. If they go to a state school, the kids are behind everyone else and unhappy. So Dad doesn't come to Wales.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 38.

    Barry perhaps it is more to do with the high number of chronically ill and disabled in Wales along with unemployment creating illnesses. It could be the amount of work involved might take them away from their Private Practices alongside the NHS work. Or that may be another answer very few can afford Private Health Care in Wales. Thought of that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 37.

    21 dispozest gave a link that shows our local NHS Trust (Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board) has three Welsh Language Officers, they could be replaced with 6 auxiliary nurses but the Welsh Language is more important according to voters. No wonder we can't recruit senior medical staff.
    http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=415&pid=33967

 

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