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UK Health Secretary uses Welsh NHS to bash Labour opposition

06 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Health Secretary Steve Barclay. Picture by Victoria Jones / PA

The UK Government’s Health Secretary has taken aim at Labour over the state of the NHS in Wales.

The Conservatives run the NHS in England while it is devolved under the Labour Welsh Government’s control in Wales.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Steve Barclay mocked Labour shadow health secretary Wes Streeting’s claim that they had a “plan for government”.

“Well let’s look at that plan. More than a fifth of the entire population of Wales are waiting for planned care,” he said.

“Sixty thousand in Wales are waiting over two years. So we can see exactly what their plan in government delivers. Indeed, he asked us to remember when they were last in power and we still do, we remember the letter that said there was no money left.”

Steve Barclay also said Labour’s motion for debate “ignores a number of salient points”, adding: “He didn’t mention, for example, the autumn statement.

“You would have thought that was quite a significant thing, the extra £6.6 billion of funding over the next two years into the NHS. Something that the NHS Confederation, no less, described as a settlement that was ‘a positive day for the NHS’.”

Mr Barclay said the Government’s aim was spending extra cash “in innovative and new ways in order to deal with the very real challenge that we face as a consequence of the pandemic”.


Labour has earlier accused the UK Government of presiding over a “broken” NHS system “facing the worst crisis in its history”.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting warned that “for the first time in the history of the NHS, people no longer feel certain when they phone 999 or arrive in A&E that they will be seen in time”.

Speaking during Labour’s Opposition Day Commons debate on the NHS workforce, Mr Streeting claimed the Government had a “disgusting” and “dangerous” plan to allow strikes to go ahead so that nurses can be a “scapegoat” for the NHS’s performance over the winter.

Mr Streeting said: “Seven million people are waiting for NHS treatment and they are waiting longer than ever before. 400,000 patients have been waiting more than a year.

“Heart attack and stroke patients are waiting an hour for an ambulance on average when every minute matters. 24 hours in A&E isn’t just a TV programme, it is the grim reality facing patients in an emergency.

“Behind those statistics, people are being held back from living their lives, people forced to give up work because they can’t stand the pain.

“Young people still bearing the scars of lockdown unable to get the mental health support they need to step into adulthood. Families losing loved ones for no other reason than the NHS was unable to treat them in time.”

He added: “The Government … sent the NHS into the pandemic with 100,000 staff shortages. They spent a decade disarming the NHS before sending it into the biggest fight it’s ever faced.”

He went on: “Ambulance turnaround times aren’t fast enough because A&E waiting times are too high, because people can’t see a doctor, because the social care isn’t available, so the beds are full of people who are well enough to go home and would be better off home. This is the problem in the NHS, the whole system is broken.”

Labour, he said, was proposing the “biggest expansion of the NHS workforce in history”.

On the Government’s response to proposed strike action, Mr Streeting claimed: “Why on earth are they not sitting round the table and conducting serious negotiations?

“I will tell you why – they know that patients are going to suffer this winter, they don’t have a plan to fix it, so instead of acting to improve care for patients and accept responsibility, they want to use nurses as a scapegoat in the hope that they avoid the blame.

“We can see it coming a mile off. It is a disgusting plan. It is dangerous. And it won’t work. And if I’m wrong, perhaps members opposite could explain why the Government is not trying to prevent the strikes from going ahead.”

MPs approved Labour’s motion to recognise the crisis facing the NHS and to condemn the Government’s record on the health service by 226 to 0.

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Why don’t Tories learn that their own record on EVERYTHING leaves them no room whatsoever to say ANYTHING?

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 year ago

We are witnessing the final death throes of the NHS, this has been decades in the making, constant underfunding increasingly impossible working conditions, the NHS was left to struggle during covid with either no PPE or unfit for use PPE that made millions for some, and what did the sheeple do? Draw pretty rainbow pictures and bang pots and pans, people are already complaining about the nurses going on strike because they believe the drivel that the daily mail and sun print, Never has apathy been so evident, how long will it be before the tories start telling us they… Read more »

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