Labour accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over Welsh NHS privatisation

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. © Copyright Richard Hoare and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-2.0)

Plaid Cymru have accused Labour in Wales of ‘hypocrisy’ over NHS privatisation following attempts to privatise a major NHS service.

Last week, Welsh Labour had said it wouldn’t allow the Welsh NHS to be on the table in the event of post-Brexit US-UK trade negotiations.

Now a health board under the direct control of the Labour Welsh Government has been accused of a second attempt to privatise a major NHS service in north Wales.

Last year, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board shalved plans to privatise the dialysis service in Wrexham and Welshpool after protests by nursing unions and Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd AM.

Now it’s under fire once again for turning to private companies to run hospital pharmacies in Ysbyty Gwynedd, Wrexham Maelor and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

The Welsh NHS is a devolved issue under the control of the Labour Welsh Government.

‘Collapse’

“It took a year of pressure from Plaid Cymru and trade unions to force the Welsh Government to accept the health board was planning to privatise dialysis services and even transfer NHS nurses into the private sector,” Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s regional North Wales AM, said.

“Now we see Betsi aiming to do the same thing with outpatient dispensing services in our three district general hospitals.

“I’m increasingly concerned that the long-standing financial pressures facing the board, which has a deficit in the tens of millions, is leading senior management to take some desperate measures to try to balance the books.

“Allowing more private firms to run parts of our NHS is the thin end of the wedge and, while Labour is fiercely opposed to Tories doing this in England they seem remarkably relaxed about it here in Wales. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

“I don’t see how outsourcing health services can save money. We’ve seen the collapse of outsourcing companies such as Carillion and I agree with trade unions such as Unison that private companies have no place in the Welsh NHS.

“In light of this ongoing trend, the Welsh Government needs to make a clear statement on outsourcing NHS services and ensure we protect our health service from private predators.”

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