Wales politics

David Cameron defends Welsh NHS line of death criticism

David Cameron
Image caption Last April, in Llangollen, David Cameron accused Labour of 'inexcusable complacency' on the Welsh NHS

Prime Minister David Cameron has defended his description of Offa's Dyke as a "line between life and death" due to cuts in Welsh NHS funding.

On Wednesday, he told BBC Wales people had been "dying on waiting lists" due to Welsh Labour ministers' decisions.

He made the original comments at last year's Welsh Conservative conference.

Wales' deputy health minister said Mr Cameron's remarks were irresponsible scaremongering and would be a "hammer blow" to Tory election candidates.

In an interview with BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme, Mr Cameron also accused Ed Miliband of treating Wales as a "Labour fiefdom".

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Media captionDavid Cameron wants voters to focus on the long-term economic plan

"I stick by what I've said about the dangers in Wales," Mr Cameron said.

"The facts are there, that people have been dying on waiting lists because they haven't been able to get the treatments they want, partly because of cuts made to the NHS in Wales by the politicians in Cardiff."

Increased spending on the NHS in England had resulted in extra money for the Welsh government, under a funding formula, Mr Cameron said.

"The Welsh politicians have made a conscious decision not to use that money for defending the funding of the NHS in Wales... they've decided to spend it elsewhere."

'Attention'

However, the prime minister said he had a "good working relationship" with Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones because "we both want the best for Wales".

Mr Cameron had no warm words for Labour's UK leader.

"If I had a criticism of Ed Miliband, it seems to me he's rather taken Wales for granted.

"He sees it as a great, sort of, Labour fiefdom and I don't think he's paid much attention to its needs," he added.

Deputy health minister Vaughan Gething said in response to the prime minister's comments: "David Cameron's decision to stick by his offensive line of death remarks will be a hammer blow to Tory candidates up and down Wales.

"They know that this irresponsible scaremongering is not only hypocritical, it is politically damaging and counter-productive.

"With crisis after crisis unfolding in the English NHS, for which the prime minister is actually responsible, you would have expected some humility today, but not a bit of it.

"This is the same old Tories who care not one bit for Wales and not one bit for our NHS."

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