Wales politics

Health minister faces committee quiz on Longley report

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths
Image caption Health Minister Lesley Griffiths has rejected opposition calls to resign

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths will face questions from AMs about correspondence which sparked a row over a report into hospital reform.

The correspondence between senior civil servants and the academic author of the report has led to an opposition no confidence motion in the minister.

Health economist Marcus Longley asked the Welsh assembly officials for information to support NHS reforms.

It has raised questions about the independence of his findings.

Prof Longley will also be asked to give evidence to the assembly's cross-party health committee.

Mrs Griffiths was due to appear before the committee next Wednesday on a separate matter anyway.

On the day she is before the committee, Mrs Griffiths faces a no confidence vote in the Senedd chamber tabled jointly by opposition parties.

Prof Longley's report , published in May, warned that some services were in danger of collapsing without reforms.

'Killer facts'

Ministers hailed the report as independent evidence that changes were needed at a time when local health boards are reviewing services.

But emails have emerged which show Prof Longley asking senior civil servants for "killer facts" while he was writing the report.

Opponents have accused the Welsh government of colluding with Prof Longley to produce a report that supports the case for potentially controversial hospital reorganisation - something both he and ministers deny.

Health committee chairman Mark Drakeford said he would consider a request from Conservative AMs William Graham and Darren Millar for Mrs Griffiths and her officials to give evidence separately.

Prof Longley had indicated he was willing to give evidence, Mr Drakeford said.

The no confidence motion in Mrs Griffiths is not binding, meaning she would not be forced to stand down if it passes.

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