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Cabinet Secretary accused of caring more about ‘getting Keir Starmer into No 10’ than Welsh NHS

04 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Cabinet Secretary for Health Eluned Morgan.

Emily Price

The Cabinet Secretary for Health has been criticised for refusing to take any interventions during a debate on Welsh NHS waiting times because she needed to “get out and campaign” for the Labour Party.

The motion tabled by the Welsh Tories on the eve of the General Election called on the Welsh Government to ensure that full Barnett consequentials from NHS spending is made available for the health service in Wales.

It also called for the Labour government in Wales to work with the UK Government to understand best practice in cutting NHS waiting lists.

The latest figures show that hospital waiting lists in Wales have hit a record high with one in five people now waiting for treatment.

The Conservatives and Plaid Cymru have regularly attacked the Welsh Government’s record on NHS performance after waiting times shot up following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cabinet Secretary for Health Eluned Morgan accused the Welsh Conservatives of “political point scouring” for tabling the debate less than 24 hours before an election.

‘Fact check’

Responding to the debate, she argued that the launch of a post pandemic recovery plan in April 2022 saw the NHS reduce long waits by 70%.

The Cabinet Secretary said both the Shadow Health Minister Altaf Hussain and the BBC needed to do a “little fact-check” on figures because Wales is “not the worst-performing part of the UK”.

Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor said constituents have been “crying out” for politicians to deal with the “gravity, honesty and urgency” that the NHS in Wales deserves.

Ms Morgan argued that Welsh statistics capture and report more elements of people’s waits than they do in England because Wales includes waits for therapies and diagnostics.

She pointed out that the population in Wales was “older and sicker” than other parts of the UK.

Talking about the looming General Election, the Health Secretary claimed that with a Labour Government in Westminster, more could be done to modernise the NHS in Wales.

She said: “We’ve spent 15 per cent more per person on health and social care than they do in England, and this year we’re investing more than 4 per cent extra in the NHS, compared to the 1 per cent increase in England.

“Of course we want to transform our services and we want to focus on prevention. We want to be more productive and efficient, and we’re trying to prioritise investments in new medicines, treatments and technology.

“But we could do more to modernise the NHS if we had more money from Westminster, which is what will happen if Labour is elected tomorrow.”

Campaign

Opposition politicians could be heard calling out in the Chamber but Ms Morgan refused to take an intervention saying, “No. I need to get out and campaign.”

Tory MS Gareth Davies worked in the Welsh NHS for 11 years before being elected to the Senedd.

He accused the Cabinet Secretary of caring more about “getting Keir Starmer into No 10” than the health service.

Mr Davies said: “I was very disappointed that a Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary rushed through her response to our State of Health in Wales Debate, seemingly because she wanted to go out and campaign for the Labour Party.

“There are serious issues that Welsh Government must address regarding how our NHS can be better tailored to our ageing population as currently the elderly are being let down by a social care crisis and an underfunded health service with record high waiting times.

“The country should always come before political party, but sadly the Cabinet Secretary demonstrated yesterday that she cares more about getting Keir Starmer into No 10 than improving a health service that has been in managed decline for the past 25 years.”

The Welsh Conservative motion was rejected at voting time and an amendment from Welsh Labour which recognised that referral to treatment times are counted differently across the UK was agreed instead.


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Howie
Howie
13 days ago

We the taxpayers of Wales funding her position not the Labour party in London, she is in place to deliver the best outcomes she can for users of the Wales NHS. I trust she will not be taking her days pay if it was dominated by electioneering, same goes to any MS. Her modus operandi is to deflect and pass the buck from WG to LHB’s to the sick and unwell in Wales. She is a classic reason why we should be able to vote for an individual in Senedd elections using PR as we will be lumbered by MS… Read more »

Alun
Alun
13 days ago
Reply to  Howie

Great comment

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
13 days ago
Reply to  Howie

Good point and well made. I think Ms Morgan is another person who feels that she doesn’t have to bother about her job as she is ‘entitled’ to her position and her pay without having to produce any results.

Gareth
Gareth
13 days ago
Reply to  Howie

Well said

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

Seeing former MP, MEP, Eluned Morgan, or to give her full title, Eluned, Baroness of Ely, in no way can be regarded as a champagne socialist, wink wink, was herself parachuted into the Senedd by English Labour as their Wales overseer. Am I surprised that she focuses on her London master Keir Starmer. Not really. She’s taken her eye off the ball in Wales and the Welsh NHS is the worse for it. Think it’s time for “change” he says with an air of sarcasm.

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
13 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

We are far worse off than England and many Welsh have to use hospitals and A & E services in England because for so many people in Wales there are no Welsh hospitals that are close. Imagine what our waiting lists would be like without the support we get from hospitals in England

Elaine
Elaine
13 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Can’t help but wonder whether ‘campaigning’ was another way of saying that she hasn’t been told what to do by Mr Streeting yet.
Overly cynical perhaps but there have been way too many indications that WM Labour intend to run Wales for my liking.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Spot on, 3 years ago in London Drakeford and Gething did the dirty on us…

I hesitate to speculate on how many would still be alive if our best interests had been taken into account…

What went on there should interest you Mr Shipton…

Why vote
Why vote
13 days ago

This shows where her loyalties are to a foreign political party, vote them all out at the next senedd election, and when asked for the PR vote just don’t tick the box for Labour.

robin campbell
robin campbell
13 days ago

The Baroness do dance to the piper’s tune

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Sack her…I caught up with a friend of mine today, YG messed up again and nearly cost him his life for a routine operation…this woman needs to go, she has been the worst example of leadership…her happy place is lording it in India…sack her…

Paddy
Paddy
13 days ago

This is what happens after 25 years in power.

Last edited 13 days ago by Paddy
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Baroness Bumble being haughty with the naughty children…

I thought she looked like she had somewhere better to go…

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