Labour Government urged to hurry up with surgical hubs after report

The Welsh Conservatives are urging the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay to speed up its delivery of regional surgical hubs to tackle the record-long backlog that has built since the pandemic.

The challenge was issued after a Royal College of Surgeons of England report urged the NHS to speed up the adoption of surgical hubs in every area of the country, money for which was ring-fenced by the UK Conservative Government back in October.

However, while 91 surgical hubs have already opened in England, with more planned, the number in Labour-run Wales is unknown despite the Welsh Conservatives calling for them to be put in place since Summer 2020. However, rollout in Wales was far behind England so the number is likely to be small.

The failure to put these hubs – specifically dedicated areas across Wales to treat patients on an NHS waiting list that currently captures a fifth of the population – in place promptly has led to concern from the Shadow Health Minister.

For months, the Labour Government resisted the calls for surgical hubs, deferring constantly to waiting for health boards to present plans months later. Only then did the Health Minister relent and said they would be put in place, but little progress has been made.

Over 700,000 people are on an NHS waiting list in Wales. 1-in-4 of them are waiting over a year, with an average wait of 23 weeks. In comparison, it is 1-in-20 and 13 weeks in England.

The number of patients waiting over two years in Wales – 68,032 and keeping steady – is five times the figure for the whole of England, 12,735 where it is falling consistently.

 Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:

“If we are seeing medical experts saying regional surgical hubs are good thing and we need more of them in England where they are already a success, I dread to think of what they would say about the far slower rollout in Wales.

“This not only demonstrates that the Conservatives are doing a better job on managing the NHS backlog than Labour, but that the decision of Mark Drakeford’s government to dither and delay on putting these much needed hubs in place plays a huge pushing the NHS waiting list to breaking point.

“We have been calling for surgical hubs in Wales for two years but Labour said it would be “foolish” to have a Covid recovery plan while the pandemic was still ongoing – this reckless and arrogant attitude is endemic of a Labour Government that cannot get to grip with the NHS.

“Sadly, patients and staff are now paying the price while the Labour Government prioritise more politicians in Cardiff Bay at a cost of £100m over fixing an NHS waiting list where a fifth of the Welsh population lie, 1-in-4 of them for over a year, and 68,000 for over two years.”

You may also be interested in

Western Mail column: 11 July – Russell George MS

Last week marked the 74th anniversary of the creation of the national health service.

Our respect for this institution is down to the hard-working doctors, nurses, and various auxiliary staff that look after us even when they barely have the chance to look after themselves.

Spread the love
Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *