Andrew RT Davies attacks Welsh Government’s handling of NHS in combative New Year’s message
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has used his New Year’s message to launch a ferocious attack on the government’s handling of the NHS in Wales.
Paying tribute to NHS staff, who are currently involved in industrial action over pay and conditions across Wales and in England, Mr Davies said they do “a terrific job” under “increasingly difficult circumstances” but are being “let down” by Labour “running the NHS in Wales”.
“Whilst the pandemic has had a major impact, Labour’s mismanagement has made the backlogs worse. Let’s not forget that it was the former Labour Health Minister (Vaughan Gething) who said it was “foolish” to plan for recovery after the pandemic” Mr Davies said.
“In Scotland and England, they ignored his calls and now they’ve eliminated their 2 year waits for treatment. In Wales 57,000 people are wondering how much longer they need to wait having hit the two-year mark.
“And in the wings waiting behind them are three quarters of a million people on an NHS waiting list, with 1-in-4 waiting over a year, while only 1-in-19 are in England, with the average wait 10 weeks shorter than in Wales.”
Mr Davies, the MS for South Wales Central, again criticised the government for failing to set up a Wales specific inquiry into the handling of the Covid pandemic and referred to the furious exchange with Mark Drakeford during a Senedd showdown in October as “the most memorable moment in Welsh politics this year.
“He can flick the pages of his binder and scrunch his face up all he wants, but the Welsh Conservatives will continue to hold him to account into 2023,” he said of the spat.
Turning his attention to the cost-of -living crisis, Mr Davies described spiralling prices as “a blight on Wales’ already undersized pay packets”, pledging “I will be fighting hard to hold the Labour Government to account and reminding them that they hold the levers to grow the Welsh economy.
“I hope that with the Covid pandemic in the rear-view mirror, we can look to the future and prioritise delivery for the Welsh people. We want to see the green shoots of recovery, with growth in the economy, improvements in the health service and progress with educational attainment,” he added.
Laying down a marker before the next Senedd election in 2026, Mr Davies praised his team in the Senedd and said they will be starting work in “developing our offer to the electorate for the next Senedd election to offer that alternative that Wales desperately needs.”
“There is a uniquely positive part to play for my party, in that we champion high quality public service provision, while ensuring good value for the Welsh taxpayer, he said.
“We need to let hard working people keep more of their own money where we can by delivering economic growth, showing how we can oppose tax rises and cut taxes where possible, while also making the sums add up.”
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