Last week, the Welsh Conservatives led a debate in the Senedd calling on the Welsh Government to protect the NHS in Wales from the proposed budget cuts that the First Minister has warned about.
I know that times are hard financially for Governments across the world as a result of global events such as the war in Ukraine or the pandemic, but the Welsh Government’s primary concern must be to protect our health service which has been underperforming for years.
With one in four people in Wales languishing on an NHS waiting list and every one of our health boards put in some form of financial special measures, the people of Wales simply cannot afford to see our health service cut.
Recently, Welsh Labour have become complacent with our public services in Wales, taking their eye of the ball, leading to a situation that has required the First Minister to announce that £900 million worth of cuts would be needed ahead of this year’s budget.
According to the Auditor General For Wales, the Welsh Government receives 20 per cent more to spend per person on health in Wales than spending per person on health in England, but unfortunately not all of this funding makes it to our front-line NHS services.
If the Welsh Government had used the full force of this funding provided on health, the Welsh NHS would have around £1.3 billion extra every year.
This financial boost would have helped to build resilience and stability across our health service, protecting it from any financial turbulence.
This chronic underfunding of our NHS has slowly eroded our healthcare service and has led to a career in healthcare becoming less and less attractive.
Unfortunately, we are where we are, but lessons must be learnt from these financial mistakes. We need to see a clear strategy from the Welsh Government as to how they will create resilience and a sustainable future for our NHS in Wales.
With our health service in such a dire state, the people of Wales cannot afford to see it receive another series of cuts.
I sincerely hope Labour listens to our calls and protects our NHS in Wales.