BY Sam Rowlands

MS for North Wales

Since July 1999, health has been devolved to Wales. All health decisions and outcomes in Wales have been due to the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.

One of the main purposes of devolution was to create better outcomes for the people of Wales, however this certainly hasn’t been the case with health.

Latest Welsh NHS data shows that Accident and Emergency waiting times were again the worst on record, with just 65% of patients being seen within four hours. This is despite Welsh Government’s own target being 95%, which has never been met.

Along with this, one fifth of the Welsh population are currently on a NHS waiting list, with 1-in-4 Welsh patients having been waiting over a year for treatment.

Regrettably, the situation in North Wales is the worst in the whole of Wales. Betsi Cadwaladr, North Wales’ Health Board, was established in 2009, yet was placed in special measures in June 2015 and was only taken out in November 2020, just six months before May’s 2021 Senedd Elections. Throughout this time we have seen scandal after scandal.

After years of attempting to prevent the publication of a report investigating a troubled hospital ward, the Holden Report has been published. The long-awaited report revealed a “culture of bullying” and “low morale” among staff in the Hergest ward, which was said to be in “serious trouble” according to the report, and “relationships between staff and managers at matron level and above have broken to such an extent that patient care is undoubtedly affected”. It is devastating to hear that patients have come to harm and been neglected.

I have also been concerned by news about the potential closure of Gresford Health Centre near Wrexham, which will make it much harder for the residents of Gresford to visit a local GP. Communities across North Wales are already facing a shortage of GPs and appointments, and the loss of the health centre in Gresford would only make this problem worse.

It is clear that after two decades of poor decisions and management, the Labour-run NHS is at breaking point, and behind each of these appalling statistics are patients and families who are suffering. Urgent action must be taken to ensure patients and families don’t continue to suffer.

Sam Rowlands MS / sam.rowlands@senedd.wales / 0300 200 7267