If Labour won’t listen to Welsh NHS concerns, we will

IN recent months the Welsh NHS has been the subject of intense media focus – all too often for the wrong reasons.

Residents of Barry and the wider Vale regularly hear that waiting time targets have been missed, that ambulance response times are poor and that access to life-prolonging cancer treatments is worse here than for patients in England.

In fact, on almost every one of the Welsh Government’s own measures, the Welsh NHS is being outperformed by its English counterpart - and it’s not the staff who are to blame.

The Vale AM, Jane Hutt, as the Welsh Government’s Finance Minister brought forward a budget that robbed the Welsh NHS of hundreds of millions of pounds. As a result, frontline services are stretched and Cardiff & Vale health board’s resources are at breaking point.

NHS clinicians and support staff work extremely hard and they, and in some worrying cases the patients, are being let down by the Welsh Labour Government.

I’m not pretending that we have all the answers, but politicians of all sides need to be willing to listen to staff, patients and their families - and brave enough to learn from some of the difficult and distressing experiences that they have faced.

It’s time to listen, and if Welsh Labour won’t then we will.

Last month I launched a public consultation on the Welsh NHS. I want to hear the NHS experiences of Barry residents; ranging from the ease with which you can arrange a GP appointment, to the local availability of NHS dentistry, or the quality of hospital food.

The survey will capture your views on a range of issues related to healthcare in Wales and I want to hear the good news as well as the bad. Perhaps you are concerned about proposals to downgrade A&E facilities in your area, or maybe you want to highlight the excellent care you or a relative received during a recent hospital stay.

As a pro-active party, the Welsh Conservatives know that it’s not good enough to merely assume that we know what the public are thinking; that only leads to ineffective decision-making.

This survey will enable us to identify key areas of concern and to address the topics that really matter to you. The results will help us to channel our policy development and ensure our future policies are shaped by your opinions and concerns.

It takes around 5 minutes to complete and every response will help us to refine our approach to holding the Welsh Labour Government to account. As the leader of the largest party of opposition in Wales it is my duty to ensure that your concerns are raised – but also to recognise and champion best practice where it exists.

I hope that you will find time to complete this survey and if you use social media please do share it with friends, family and colleagues. We want everyone to have their say.