Let’s change – the narrative. It’s not all doom and gloom

Let’s change – the narrative. It’s not all doom and gloom

So many of the articles and news stories we see in the media are about the dire state of the Welsh NHS. It has been this way for several years as our health service has in my view, been mismanaged by the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.

A prime example would be the handling of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. It was prematurely taken out of special measures to suit Labour’s electoral aims, then as report after a report highlighted continued failings, the decision was reversed.

So, for scale, here is a quick summary of all of the other issues that have occurred in the few months since I last wrote this piece:

  • Wales recorded its worst A&E, ambulance, and cancer treatment waiting times on record
  • Welsh Conservative research found Welsh ambulance staff worked over two million hours of overtime over the last five years, showing Labour’s financial mismanagement
  • North Wales’ health board declared a critical incident and postponement of all non-urgent procedures
  • The Welsh NHS Confederation said NHS Wales is on a knife-edge
  • Doctors had to warn that the Labour Government’s policy of discharging patients from hospital without social care packages could die
  • Nurses, ambulance workers, and midwives went on strike
  • The Health Minister said the Welsh NHS may have to do less in future
  • We discovered data that showed a backlog of £1bn in the maintenance of Welsh NHS buildings
  • Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) published another damning report about vascular services in North Wales that showed patient records going missing
  • HIW published a report highlighting a lack of improvement in the Emergency Department at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd despite it being designated a service requiring significant improvement a year ago

This does not include the many sad stories of people’s personal experiences either. This avalanche of bad news should not be allowed to beat us into submission.

Instead, Welsh Conservatives have used it as motivation to change things. In response to Labour’s draft budget, my party put together a plan that, in contrast to Labour, put the people’s priorities first.

Six-point action plan

Our six-point action plan saw health at the top of this list. As well as supporting micro-businesses to grow, future-proofing Welsh businesses. Freezing council tax and kickstarting turning empty houses back into homes, we want to bring in care hotels and surgical hubs to reduce backlogs in both emergency and elective care.

Our care hotels are step-down facilities that ensure people can get discharged from hospital when they need to in order to prevent the bed-blocking that is a stick in the cogs of the Welsh NHS that grind it to a halt so often.

This should mean people spending less time in A&E and, consequently, allow ambulances to transfer their patients quicker so they can get back on the road to the next patient. That should end our record long waits.

Our surgical hubs proposal – something for which we have called since summer 2020 – would mean locations across Wales that offer a wide range of procedures to get that backlog down.

The NHS waiting list is around twice the proportion of England.

You may know that nearly a quarter of the population of Wales is on the NHS waiting list, around twice the proportion of England.

1-in-4 of those patients wait over a year for treatment compared to 1-in-20 in England. There are 41,000 people waiting over two years here but hardly anyone in England or Scotland. The median waiting time in Wales is eight weeks longer than in England.

Now, legitimate questions may be asked about how we are to fund this. And, no, its not like Plaid Cymru’s proposal to increase nurse pay by whacking up income tax on everyone, including nurses.

We can accomplish this quite simply by putting a stop on Labour’s spending on its worst policies and pet projects, including their Constitutional Commission, Senedd Reform and spending money on non-devolved areas. Let us not forget the £225m plundered and wasted on Cardiff Airport which could have funded so much in the realm of health.

Let’s change the narrative. It doesn’t have to all be doom and gloom. But we have to try to change the situation, and not just hope it will happen on its own.

We’ve shown the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay how to do it. Now its up to them to actually deliver.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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