David Cameron and the NHS in Wales (episode 31)

It's Wednesday, it's 12 o'clock and it's that time of the week again, the 30-minute "window" where David Cameron gets the chance to criticise Labour's running of the NHS in Wales.

This time the question came from Vale of Glamorgan Tory MP Alun Cairns, who suggested the Welsh government could be undermining the operation of the armed forces because soldiers had to wait longer for treatment.

Mr Cairns said the surgeon general of the armed forces had "raised concerns about the impact of longer NHS waiting times on soldiers based in Wales.

"Does the prime minister agree that NHS outcomes for my constituents including soldiers are simply not good enough, that the Welsh government could be undermining the operation of the armed forces and are potentially in breach of the military covenant?"

Not surprisingly, David Cameron told Mr Cairns he made an important point.

"We have seen an 8 % cut to the budget in Wales for the NHS. The last time A and E targets were met was 2009, the last time cancer treatment targets were met was 2008. Over a third of people miss out on access to diagnostic services within eight weeks.

"There is a truly dreadful record when it comes to Labour's NHS in Wales and you see a huge contrast now with the NHS in England properly funded, well run, meeting the key targets and the shambles there is in Wales."

The Welsh government had been anticipating the prime minister's attack in what it calls the "war on Wales". It strongly disputes the version of events put forward by Mr Cairns. Bridgend Labour MP Madeleine Moon, who sits on the defence committee at Westminster, said that when the surgeon general - Air Marshal Paul Evans - had the opportunity to criticise the record of the NHS in Wales he talked instead of co-operation.

First Minister Carwyn Jones told BBC Radio Wales today: "It's becoming a bit of an obsession for him. (David Cameron)

"I don't think he cares two hoots about the state of the NHS in Wales. What he's trying to do is divert attention away from his own problems - it's an old trick."

There's no PMQs next week as MPs will be on their Easter recess, but some of the arguments heard today are certain to be repeated during this weekend's Welsh Conservative conference in Llangollen.

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

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