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NHS Wales in bad shape before Covid and needs to be completely transformed, say Plaid Cymru

22 Mar 2021 3 minute read
Rhun ap Iorwerth. Picture by Plaid Cymru

The NHS in Wales was already in “managed decline” before the pandemic and any post-Covid plan needs to completely transform it, Plaid Cymru has said.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced an initial £100m funding, to help the health and care system in Wales to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth says that any plans that focus solely on ‘recovery from the pandemic’ overlook two decades of “managed decline”.

The party said that if they formed the next government they would recruit 1,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses and other health professionals.

The pandemic had masked problems that were already there and that waiting times for treatment and diagnostics were already too long before the pandemic, Rhun ap Iorwerth said.

“Backlogs in surgery and diagnosis, a tired and understaffed workforce and missed targets – this was already the legacy of 20 years of Labour Health Ministers, before the pandemic struck,” he said.

“And they’ll only be repeated, unless our health and care system is completely transformed.

“Labour acknowledges these inequalities but does not accept the responsibility for this managed decline.

“Plaid Cymru will begin by training and recruiting 1,000 additional doctors and 5,000 nurses and other health workers taking pressure off the current workforce, and our seamless new National Health and Care Service will give care workers the respect they deserve, putting them on the same terms and conditions and pay scales as health workers.

“Staff and patients will benefit. Our cancer plan will speed up diagnosis and treatment, young people will be supported with their mental health and wellbeing through a network of youth welfare hubs. And we’ll prioritise preventative measures like never before.

“We can’t go back to how things were. Our NHS has to be rebuilt in a way that makes it more robust than ever – a task Plaid Cymru will begin on day one of Government.”

‘Long journey’

Launching its Health and Social Care in Wales recovery plan today, the Welsh Government said it wanted better working between health and social services, to support and build a resilient workforce, and provide accessible digital support.

Vaughan Gething said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our health and social care system, patients and staff. As we emerge from the most serious stage of the pandemic, we are now in a position to set out how we can start to recover.

“This plan sets out the broad principles of recovery and more detailed actions will follow. I am making available an initial £100m now to support the first steps, but it is clear more resources will be needed to make a full recovery.

“It will be a long journey, but it is also an opportunity to transform how we deliver health and care services in the future, and to tackle the health inequalities in our society that the pandemic has made even more evident.

“That is why, alongside our recovery plan, I am also pleased to announce our National Clinical Framework, which sets out how we see NHS clinical services developing over the next decade.”

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