Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care has called for Welsh Government to “wake up” and take the “radical action” to address the “long-standing issues” in the NHS in Wales.
The latest NHS waiting times have been published, which show increased pressure on emergency services, record waiting times for cancer treatment, and a failure of Welsh Government to meet their target for no patients to be waiting longer than a year for their first outpatient appointment.
Mr ap Iorwerth says that this decline has happened “on Welsh Labour’s watch” and the Welsh Government is “not without power” to address the issues.
The latest figures arrive on a day that doctors in Wales are considering strike action for the first time in their history, and within a week of historic strike action from nurses and ambulance workers.
Earlier in the week, Mr ap Iorwerth wrote to the Health Minister to implore that “staff and patients need to know why they should have any confidence in what the Government is doing to restore things.”
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“Our NHS is at breaking point and something has to give. There have been long-standing problems with patient flow through hospitals, and with increased pressure on our emergency service and more and more patients being added to waiting lists, our hard-working staff have given everything they can.
“The strikes from nurses and ambulance workers are a last resort from dedicated staff who have patient safety at the heart of their actions. But something has to give, and Welsh Government should be doing everything in its power to ensure it’s not the workforce.
“The latest news that doctors may join nurses and ambulance workers on the picket line has to be a wake-up call for Welsh Government, and they must be prepared to take radical action if they are truly committed to facing up to the long-standing problems within our NHS. Let’s not forget that this decline in our NHS has happened on their watch.
“Staff and patients need to know why they should have any confidence in the Welsh Government’s ability to improve waiting times, support our workforce, and to provide the stability and sustainability that our health and care service so desperately needs.”