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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Welsh Health Service - enough already!

Kirsty Williams was absolutely right in her speech to the Welsh Liberal Democrats Conference last week to express her fury at the way that the First Minister is hiding behind the Welsh people over critcism of his government.

She told the Conference:

Our health service struggles like never before, our schools remain underfunded and underperforming, our economy lags behind the rest of the UK.

I am furious that we as nation are being portrayed in this manner.

Last week Carwyn Jones said these criticisms weren’t a war on Welsh Labour, or the Welsh Government, but a war on Wales as an entire nation.

How dare he take cover behind the people he is meant to lead. What kind of leader does that?

These headlines might hurt our sense of national pride, but we must not forget, it is Labour that is Wales’ weak link. Labour is holding us back, Labour – the weight around our nation’s neck.

Indeed I have commented before that after his ministers and him spent the last few yeats attacking the UK Coalition Government in the Senedd chamber, Carwyn Jones cannot expect to escape reciprocal treatment.

In my view it is the job of the opposition, whether they are Ministers in another place or Assembly Members here in Wales to highlight problems and hold the Welsh Government to account for them. That is not a 'war on Wales' it is a war on failure on behalf of the Welsh people.

The rhetoric in this weekend's Welsh Tory Conference however, has taken that process to a new and unacceptable level. To suggest as David Cameron did that Offa's Dyke "has become the line between life and death" is going too far.

Outcomes are clearly worse in Wales than in England, waiting times are longer here but the Welsh NHS is still in the business of healing people and it still does a reasonably good job thanks to a highly dedicated and skilled workforce.

It is no wonder that the RCN say that nurses are finding the political row over the Welsh NHS both "tiresome and demoralising'.

It is time to rein back the rhetoric and start approaching this issue from a more constructive point of view. That applies to both sides of the argument.

By all means criticise when it is justified, compare one health service to another and highlight government failures, but please can we stop the unacceptable hyperbole? Enough already!
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