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Omicron: Welsh Conservatives publish public health action plan

Welsh Conservatives have today published a detailed action plan to tackle the numerous public health crises in Wales.  

Wales is under pressure on various fronts in public health including coronavirus, spiralling NHS waiting lists and the mental health crisis.

And last Wednesday, the so-called Omicron variant was identified by scientists in South Africa, with several cases now emerging in recent days across the UK.

Ahead of the Labour Government’s lunchtime press conference, Senedd Conservatives have called on ministers to take immediate action to protect the public and tackle the problems across public health in Wales.

Welsh Conservatives want to see an action plan which sees the Labour Government:

  1. Appoint a vaccines minister
  2. Rapidly rollout booster jab walk-in centres across the country and reopen mass vaccination centres where currently closed
  3. Reactivate NHS Covid volunteer force and the ‘jabs army’
  4. Establish regional surgical hubs regional surgical hubs to tackle waiting list backlog
  5. Commit to schools remaining open
  6. Commit to easing restrictions such as vaccine passports if Omicron proves no more dangerous than Delta

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS, is also calling for a public information campaign to encourage people to come forward if they have any symptoms of concern.

Commenting, George said:

“Wales is currently fighting several public health crises.

“1 in 5 people in our country are languishing on a waiting list, people are still ignoring concerning symptoms, we have a mental health crisis, and we are now tackling the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“Without doubt, the vaccination programme remains our best weapon in the fight against COVID and we want to see immediate action to get booster jabs in arms, starting with the rapid rollout of walk-in centres and the reopening of mass vax centres across Wales.

“In light of the new JCVI guidance and to assist with the ramp up of the programme, we should reactive the NHS Covid volunteer force and ‘jabs army’ to ensure we can protect as many people as quickly as possible.

“It’s also imperative we do not ignore other problems in public health and Labour ministers must now listen to our calls and establish regional surgical hubs to tackle the NHS backlog and ease pressure on our hospitals.

“The health minister is doing her best in difficult circumstances but given the pressures facing public health in Wales and the importance of the vaccine rollout, it’s clear the First Minister needs to provide support in the form of a dedicated vaccines minister moving forward.

“At today’s press conference, it’s also important we see ministers commit to schools remaining open given the huge loss of education over the past two years and that restrictions such as COVID passports will be dropped if the Omicron proves no more dangerous than Delta.

“We believe this is a balanced and comprehensive action plan that will protect the people of Wales and ensure all crisis in public health are tackled with the full force of government and most importantly our brilliant healthcare staff.”