Labour accused of being ‘in denial’ about running Welsh NHS after encouraging protest against Health Board
Welsh Labour have been criticised by opposition parties after one of their MPs took to social media to campaign against the closure of an A&E department.
Alex Davies-Jones MP, the Labour MP for Pontypridd, posted a video on Twitter updating followers “on the campaign to save our A&E at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital”.
NHS Wales is the responsibility of the Labour-controlled Welsh Government, and Labour AM Vaughan Gething is the current Health Minister.
However, in the video Alex Davies-Jones encourages her constituents to “make [their] voices heard” to “stop these changes from happening”.
An Assembly Member, Dawn Bowden, subsequently took to Twitter to deny that the Welsh Government had any say in the decision.
She said that the NHS was “funded by the Welsh Labour Government” but was “managed by people who are paid to do so”.
Andrew RT Davies, who represents the south Wales central region for the Welsh Conservatives, said that Welsh Labour were in “denial” about their responsibility for Wales’ NHS.
“There seems to be some confusion, denial, or just a slopey-shouldered attitude to Wales NHS in Welsh Labour,” Andrew RT Davies told Nation.Cymru.
“I was not surprised to read Dawn Bowden’s public denial of just who manages our NHS. Looking at the appalling state it is in after 20 years’ ‘management’ by Welsh Labour, her wish to wash her and her party’s hands of it is almost understandable.
“Let’s be absolutely clear: the Welsh Labour Government receives a block grant under the Barnett Formula to spend on healthcare provision, a grant some £40 more per person than in England. How it is spent is down to the government of the day, and clearly, it’s not spending it wisely.
“It’s the old story, that Labour loves, of taking the credit when things are going well – which we Welsh Conservatives are still waiting to see – and blame others when things go badly, which they are.
“At any time, the Health Minister could stop this, so Welsh Labour AMs and MPs need to stop shroud-waving and instead have a quiet word with their man on point in the Labour Welsh Government.”
Cwm Taf said closing the A&E department might be needed to avoid “unacceptable risk to patient safety”.
Plaid Cymru also criticised Alex Davies-Jones and Dawn Bowden’s comments. A spokesperson told Nation.Cymru it was “no wonder our NHS is suffering when the party responsible for running it deny any responsibility”.
“The Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething is accountable for the performance of the NHS” she said. “He is in charge and could interfere in the decision to downgrade the A&E at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital if he wanted to.
“This is a blatantly cynical attempt by Labour to deflect from their own failings. They are literally protesting against their own Labour party policy.
“Plaid Cymru have already outlined some ideas to save the services in the Royal Glamorgan by transforming it into an ‘A&E Centre of Research’ to safeguard its future and to make the hospital more attractive for consultants.
“Labour have shown that they can’t properly run the NHS in Wales. It’s time for them to step aside for a party that can.”
In the video posted on Twitter, Alex Davies-Jones said that she was working hard with MPs and AMs across Rhondda Cynon Taf in order to ensure that people “right across our communities have the opportunity to speak up”.
However she adds that it is the “Health Board and the clinicians who are ultimately making these decisions”.
“The only way we’re going to stop these changes from happening – or at least ensure that there’s a provision there for all of us – is that we make our voices heard and that we keep making representations to the health board,” she said.