Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Our NHS needs more doctors

Oh no they don't, say Labour

When a respected consultant at Wrexham Maelor Hospital says A&E departments across Wales are "on the edge" you tend to sit up and listen.

It chimes with Plaid Cymru's call for 1,000 extra doctors and 5,000 extra nurses to deal with shortages and demand we're all experiencing in hospitals and the community. This long-term plan to train and recruit extra NHS staff, which could involve re-starting nurse training at Glyndwr University, is pretty uncontroversial you'd imagine.

But not according to Labour's health minister Vaughan Gething, who is in denial. He denies there's a crisis, he says A&Es are doing better than last year and claims Plaid is "pulling the wool over people's eyes".

Of course, it's not surprising that the minister will want to rubbish his political opponents, especially when they have consistently highlighted his party's failings on the NHS. But it's a bit more difficult to dispute a consultant's expert view on A&E. But that's what he does.

His take on A&Es will be at odds with most people's direct experiences. Here in Wrexham many non-urgent cases, including children, are told it will take 10 hours or more to be seen. Improving?

However, it's his dismissal of a decent long-term plan to improve our NHS by raising doctor:patient ratios to that of England's that is most disappointing. Yes, it takes seven years to train a doctor and three years to train a nurse but Plaid Cymru has been arguing for more doctors for the past three years. We'd be half-way there by now if Labour had got out of first gear.

Labour has been in charge of the NHS in Wales for 17 years. It has presided over community hospital closures (e.g Llangollen), GP surgeries going into meltdown (e.g. Hightown), key specialist services such as Special Care Baby Unit and maternity services being undermined and downgraded with constant threats of closure and a culture of appointing Labour croneys to key positions on bureaucratic and unaccountable health boards. In short, it has done as much damage to our wonderful NHS as the rotten Tories are doing in England with their privatisation plans.

In 100 days we can end that 17-year misrule once and for all by voting for a party that puts the Welsh NHS at the top of the political agenda. 



Dr Sian Caiach said...

1,000 new doctors and 5,000 new nurses are not likely to come to wales to work, as the Welsh Government has failed to sort out the welsh health service and only very committed rats will join and stay in a sinking ship.

Also they will need wards to work in, which have been closed, offices and secretaries which have been cut, theatres and clinics which are currently not able to provide extra capacity. Wales has aquired a health service which is not solely dedicated to the people of this country and but also to the political ambition of "Smaller Government", promotion of private practice and "self help".

Why do we not produce enough doctors and nurses for Wales in Wales? Why do we appoint executives with higher salaries per size of Health Board than England?
Why do we still allow consultants, on the highest salaries in Europe to moonlight in the private sector and therefore have no real incentive to reduce waiting lists?

Its not that simple. It will take real political courage to turn the Welsh NHS into a service for the people.

Look at England, where the consultants have sent their juniors out on the street threatening to strike rather than work weekends and miss their private slots. Have you not noticed the strike is with "counsultant support?" In a profession where juniors are reliant on old fashioned patronage for promotion and good jobs, few junior doctors will have the guts not to call for a strike.

Even the Tories have worked out that the consultants in England should accept a little discomfort in their wallets to save lives and prevent unnecessary disability. After all, the 1% are just 1% of the population and in the UK they don't even have a great voting record.

In summary, better, more realistic policy required.

Plaid Whitegate said...

I don't think anybody's saying all these doctors and nurses are "coming to Wales"... the point is to train more doctors and nurses from Wales. This is a long-term policy rather than short-term sticking plasters. Yes, it's ambitious but it would still only bring us up to the patient/doctor ratio in England. Hardly unrealistic.

Your support for the Tories in England is beyond bizarre but unsurprising.

Anonymous said...

Is that the same Sian Caiach who grassed up Welsh republicans to the police?