An outspoken critic of the Welsh Government’s handling of the NHS could be invited to speak in North Wales.
A motion to the North Wales Community Health Council inviting rebel Labour MP Ann Clwyd to speak is being considered at their meeting next week.
Ms Clwyd has been at the centre of a bitter row with Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, after he criticised her for not providing evidence of complaints against the Welsh NHS in the wake of her husband’s death in a Cardiff hospital.
Attempts to invite her to attend the Assembly’s health scrutiny committee to give evidence were then blocked by Labour AMs.
Now Cllr Arfon Jones, of Wrexham, and other Plaid Cymru members of the CHC are pushing the health council to invite Ms Clwyd to address them and have the opportunity to provide evidence of the issues in the NHS. Cllr Jones said:
“The gagging of a senior MP on a matter of vital importance is very disturbing. That’s why I and other CHC members felt it important to give her a platform and speak up for patients, which is after all the CHC’s remit.
“What has happened so far is Labour tribalism at its worst. The Health Committee should scrutinise the work of the NHS in Wales and partisan Labour AMs have have failed to do because they put their party before the public interest.”
His call was backed by Councillor Mair Rowlands:
"Ann Clwyd is respected across the political spectrum in Wales and has a deep knowledge of the NHS. We really do need to hear her views on the performance of our Health Service and what can be done to improve things.
“Putting a gagging order on her is already proving to be counterproductive for the Labour Party in Wales as more and more people want to hear her views. Many people are already scared about future services in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and her comments would be a valuable contribution to the debate about the future of Health Services in North Wales.”
If accepted, the motion to allow Ms Clwyd to speak will be voted upon next week.
The move was welcomed by Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd, who has raised a number of concerns about Betsi Cadwaladr’s senior management over the past three years:
“I’m glad our representatives on the Community Health Council are taking this forward. Ann Clwyd has been treated very shabbily by the First Minister and other Labour AMs who recently cynically blocked an opportunity for her to present evidence to the Assembly’s Health Committee. She should be given a fair opportunity to provide evidence of what she sees are failings in the service.”