This week, we celebrate the 75th birthday of the NHS and thank all of the hardworking staff and volunteers that have supported our health service, particularly over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While there is much to celebrate when it comes to our NHS, I am concerned that both the BMA Cymru and RCN have issued stark warnings over the state of our health service. The Welsh NHS under Labour is sadly the outlier in the UK, facing its own unique challenges and struggling under the weight of increased pressures.
It is concerning that, in Wales, you barely have a 50/50 chance of an ambulance arriving on time or receiving cancer treatment within the target time. Furthermore, there are still 30,000 people waiting over two years for treatment despite the fact that 2-year waits have virtually been eliminated elsewhere in the UK.
Let’s not forget that for every £1 spent on healthcare in England, the Welsh Government receives £1.20 yet only £1.05 of that makes it to the Welsh NHS.
This week, both the First Minister and the last Minister for Health will have an opportunity to provide clarity and face questions about their handling of the Covid pandemic in Wales, and I sincerely hope they answer questions honestly and fully. The people of Wales deserve answers as to how and why Labour ministers made the decisions that they did.
As it is becoming ever more painfully evident, the Welsh NHS is in a worse position following the pandemic and we cannot afford to wait for years to get answers. We urgently need to see the Welsh NHS on stronger footing in order to make sure we are ready for the next pandemic or health crisis.
I want to see a Welsh NHS thrive over the next 75 years with the guiding principle of healthcare being free at the point of need still at its heart, but we need to see Labour ministers address the fundamental issues in Wales or the BMA’s warning of NHS collapse will come true.