Welsh Conservatives would take control of NHS Wales away from Welsh Government, manifesto says
The Welsh Conservatives would take control of NHS Wales away from the Welsh Government if elected in May, their manifesto says.
Included in the document is a commitment to “create NHS Wales as a separate organisation, independent from the Welsh Government”.
Overall responsibility for NHS Wales was devolved in 1999, with the Welsh Government responsible for oversight and scrutiny of NHS Wales and appointing managers, including the Chief Executive of the NHS and also members of the Health Boards.
They are also able to place the Health Board under direct Welsh Government control, as has happened at Betsi Cadwaladr in the north of Wales.
“We would create NHS Wales as a separate, arms-length organisation to the Welsh Government to provide a stronger voice for frontline staff and patients,” the Welsh Conservatives said in a response for comment.
“For too long and in too many cases, the Welsh NHS has been either beholden to Welsh Government interference over day-to-day running of the service or important services have been left to Health Boards to decide on, resulting in unequal or patchy services.”
The manifesto also notes that the Conservatives would “work with the UK Government to ensure that emergency pandemic responses are uniform across the UK, with consistent messaging and which is evidence-led”.
It also includes a commitment to “work with other Governments across the UK to guarantee patient access to the nearest appropriate health provision utilising cross border and independent facilities to speed up treatment”.
But despite pledging that the Welsh Government would relinquish control of NHS Wales, the manifesto also includes many other NHS-related commitments:
- Establish the NHS Hospitals and Buildings Recovery Fund to level-up and modernise hospitals and primary care facilities across Wales, so that our valued NHS staff and their patients have state of the art facilities to deliver world-class care
- Embrace new ways of working, such as online appointments, to make it easier to see a GP or specialist
- Expand the Access to Treatments Fund so that doctors can use the most advanced, life-saving treatments for cancer, rare diseases, and other conditions that aren’t currently available on the NHS
The Welsh Conservatives also promised to invest £2bn in Wales’ infrastructure as they launch their Senedd election manifesto today.
The money would go into the M4 Relief Road around Newport, upgrades to the A55 and A40, and 20,000 green charging points, they said.
The Conservative manifesto today in Wrexham had been due to take place last week but was delayed by the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
At the launch, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies will set out what he will describe as Wales’ “national mission to get the economy on the road to recovery”.
Among their pledges is to cut the basic level of income tax at the back end of the next Senedd term so everyone benefits from our economic recovery.
“Over the past 12 months, the coronavirus crisis has tested our communities and public services beyond recognition, but we’ve seen the very best of Wales when everyone has worked together in the national interest,” Andrew RT Davies said ahead of the launch.
“As we move out of lockdown the next big challenge awaits, and we will need to undertake another critical national mission to get the economy on the road to recovery and create new jobs.
“We are currently experiencing the deepest downturn since records began, and evidence shows that Welsh communities could be amongst the worst hit. We urgently need a plan for recovery and for jobs.
“Like COVID, our economic recovery is going to require a truly national effort, and if we are successful in delivering on our commitment of creating 65,000 new jobs it will be down to a true Team Wales approach – with businesses, entrepreneurs, government and the public sector working in unison.”
Among the Conservatives’ pledges is to implement a cut of at least 1p in the £ to the basic rate of income tax to support hardworking families.
Other key economic policies include:
Abolishing business rates for small businesses and reform the outdated tax on growth
Boosting opportunities for workers hardest hit by the pandemic with our Covid “Retrain, Gain” programme to get people into key sectors to kickstart the economy
Launching new support for micro businesses with our “Jump Start Scheme” paying the employer National Insurance contributions of two new employees for two years to accelerate growth
Establishing “Innovate Wales”, based in North Wales, a one stop shop for firms to support new enterprises, and encourage existing businesses to grow and export.
Delivering a “new deal” for North Wales
“The Welsh Conservatives have an ambitious plan and will stop at nothing in our drive to create the first business-friendly economy in Wales for a generation and ensure we recover from the pandemic and 22 years of Labour rule,” Andrew RT Davies said.
“After two decades of failure in the halls of Cardiff Bay, Welsh Conservatives will place delivery at the heart of our manifesto and when we meet our commitments, we will ensure hardworking people in Wales benefit with a cut in income tax at the end of the next Senedd.
“Wales has a huge economic challenge ahead and we can’t afford another five years of Labour propped up by the nationalists who will clobber Welsh families with higher taxes.
“We need change and it’s time to turn the page on the same old Labour Party that has allowed Wales’ economic problems to fester over the past two decades and have no plan to fix things.”