Patients in Wales who have to way 120 days longer for a hip replacement here than in England were told by Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) today that the length of time they waited wasn't as important as the "outcome" of their operation

Patients in Wales who have to wait 197 days for a hip replacement were told by Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) today that the length of time they waited wasn’t as important as the “outcome” of their operation

The Penarth Labour AM Vaughan Gething is under pressure yet again today as a new report has revealed that, contrary to all the Welsh Labour Government’s assertions, NHS patients in Wales DO wait longer for diagnosis and for treatment than patients in England.

Deputy Health Minister Gething – who has consistently floundered as one crisis after another has hit the NHS in Wales – today found himself having to try explain why waiting times have got so much longer in Wales over the last four years – much of it on his watch .

  • Hip operations waiting-time is 75 days in England but 197 in Wales . Waiting times in Wales have lengthened by 20% since 2011.
  • Diagnosis of heart disease 10 days longer to carry out in Wales than it does in England
  • Diagnosis for  pneumonia takes 14 days longer in Wales than it does in England
  • Stomach operations require a wait in Wales which is 12 days longer than in England

[PDN Note:  The figures analysed and compiled by the BBC are from NHS England  Hospital Episode Statistics and the Patient Episode Database for Wales.]

Gething made the astonishing claim that patients in Wales didn't really care about waiting times

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) made the assertion that  patients in Wales didn’t really mind that much about how long they  waited so long as they received the  “outcome” they wanted.

Facing reporters today Gething said he did not accept there had been failings in the Welsh NHS, but – the beleaguered Penarth Labour AM admitted “We have more to do”.

He claimed “We’re within our waiting times here in Wales and if you ask patients what matters to them, almost all of them will tell you that they’re mostly interested in the outcome they will receive” What we need to do in Wales is to have a real focus on outcomes and not just on treatment times.”. (sic)

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar ( Conservative AM for Clwyd West)

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar ( Conservative AM for Clwyd West)

It was a nostrum that persuaded nobody in the other parties.

The Conservative Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said the statistics were “further evidence of the damaging legacy of Labour’s cuts, closures and downgrades”.

Millar said  “It is utterly disgusting that people are waiting almost twice as long in Wales to have a heart bypass operation, placing vulnerable patients at risk of serious harm and potentially premature death. Meanwhile, waiting times for the treatment of cataracts, hernias and hip operations are also much longer here than over the border; impacting on them and their loved ones, and ruining their quality of life.”

Wales Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams

Wales Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams accused the Welsh Labour Government Ministers of “ducking and diving ” .

She said “Time after time Labour ministers have ducked and dived, claiming statistics aren’t comparable. Yet these figures are stark, and make it explicitly clear that waiting lists are much longer in Wales than in England. After 17 years, Labour’s legacy on the NHS is one of failure. They should be ashamed of these figures and, quite frankly, the people of Wales deserve an apology.”

Elin Jones (Plaid Ceredigion)

Elin Jones (Plaid Ceredigion)

Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman Elin Jones joined in the ever-lengthening queue to give Gething a kicking saying  “Month on month, the Labour Welsh Government fails to achieve its targets for routine matters such as cancer treatment waiting times, referral to treatment waiting times and waiting times for crucial diagnostic tests.”

She said “Labour’s inability to plan the workforce properly, tackle blockages in the system and meet its targets is putting NHS workers under incredible daily pressure.”

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  1. Christopher David says:

    We have a feckless so called minister for heath who’s incompetent and guess what- The top three highest paid Civil Servants in WG- paid even more than the head. Perm Sec Derek Jones are …….all NHS managers. This is one joke government. Club members paid to fail at a cost of circa £750,000 a year between just the three NHS failures. The “minister” costs a huge amount on top and enjoys a chauffer driven car to boot.

    • Assembly members do not set their own pay rates. That’s done by the Remuneration Board. On the Assembly web site it states;

      The Remuneration Board is an independent Board, set up in 2010 to look at Assembly Members’ pay and allowances. The Board’s main job is making sure AMs have the right resources for doing their jobs properly.

      The Board was established by the National Assembly for Wales Remuneration Measure 2010. It is chaired by Dame Dawn Primarolo, DBE. It was one of 108 recommendations made by the Independent Review Panel on Assembly Members’ Pay and Allowances in its report of July 2009.

      If you think the Assembly’s unnecessary go and have a look at what’s happening to Health and social Services in England, check what how close the Private company that owned Cardiff airport were to bankrupting it when it was bought by the Assembly, look with even a slightly open eye at what’s happening to education in England, and remember that Michael Gove as Education Minister had no objection to Acadamy’s and Free Schools being profit making.

      Look at all those elements of the Welfare state created after the 2nd WW and there you’ll find the Conservative tanks.

      • Anne Other says:

        What has happened to education in England, my friend, is a surge of creativity, independence and energy replacing the stale centralized bureaucracy that had suffocated educational aspiration for so long and which continues (while there is a dominant socialist administration here) to repress popular energies here in Wales.

  2. EH says:

    The outcome and waiting times are not variables that should be traded-off against each other in the NHS! Same nonsense with ambulance response times “it’s the outcome that matters”. That seems to be the new mantra to let the politicians off the hook as queues get longer and longer for everything it seems.

  3. Willy Wonka says:

    I saw him on the BBC this morning. He claimed that the Welsh standards on waiting times were different to the English standards.

    Then the interviewer said “you mean lower’

    GV then said “lower is a pejorative term” actually GV it is a statistical accurate definition. I nearly pissed myself laughing.

    He sounded like he had just come out of his ‘media’ training course armed with a bunch of roll off the tongue defences for what is a defenceless position.

    Everyone on here will get bored with me saying again, yet another example of the failed assembly experiment.

    Time for a referendum on the assembly. We now have 10+ years of imperial evidence that the Assembly experiment is a busted flush, whomever is in power.

  4. Hugh says:

    Vaughan Gething is being disingenuous suggesting that outcomes are more important than waiting times, because outcomes are often a function of waiting times – so the longer the wait, the poorer the outcome. And Darren Millar is right to say that delays in diagnosis and treatment increase the risk of serious harm and premature death. But as long as people chant the mantra that the NHS is the envy of the world, nothing will change.

  5. Waiting times in Wales were longer than in England before the Assembly was formed. Under Welsh Labour this difference has been reduced but as Nigel Edwards of the Nuffield Trust stated, ‘the whole of the UK (NHS) is having problems. You spend less and you get less’.

    The Assembly took a decision to look at the Health and Social care together.

    In England the Tories decided to reduce social care spending in order to protect certain parts of the NHS, not all of it.

    Vaughan Gething explained that in Wales, ‘we took a decision to look at the whole spectrum together because we recognise there is no consequence free choice that we could make given the cuts made to our budget’.

    Social Care in England is under real pressure and delayed transfers of care are going in the wrong direction. Up to 5000 at the end of August in England, down to 430 in Wales in 2015 from 800 a month in 2005.

    Also mental health in Wales has much better waiting times and outcomes than in England.

    The Kings Fund report of October 2015 reports the English NHS is facing a toxic mix of financial deficit, rising waiting lists and low staff moral, with 82% of NHS organisations expected to be in deficit by the end of the financial year. 9 in 10 NHS directors believe that cuts in social care budgets are adversely effecting NHS services, and 27% of NHS Finance Directors say that caps on agency staff will affect their ability to ensure safe staffing levels.

    Finally, Wales spends more per head on patients than England.

  6. Christopher David says:

    Vaughan Gething IS one of the free loading under performers in the league of three top paid civil servants in Wales. If your in the club you get paid to fail. The NHS is failing and the freeloaders are not just a few civil servants and third rate AM’s.

  7. Christopher David says:

    NigelHumphreys says “The Remuneration Board is an independent Board, set up in 2010 to look at Assembly Members’ pay and allowances. The Board’s main job is making sure AMs have the right resources for doing their jobs properly”. Love the last bit= mealy mouthed speak for salaries pensions, chauffeurs and big expenses. If you believe that’s how it really works you are indeed naïve! The board members are in the “club” The runaway empire building club that is lining the pockets of MP’s, AM’s, top civil servants, council mangers and just about anyone else they can rope in the though the cronies and QUANGO’s network. For the first time in history so- called Labour politicians are making themselves “legitimate” millionaires through the public purse. Do we need? Indeed consider it- do we need amateurs that are running down public services, destroying the NHS, keeping wages for the working, professional (take nurses) and lower management classes supressed. Spending on daft programmes like “£10 million on Gender Awareness in the Workplace” Losing £37 million on under the counter secret land sales- do we need! NO- what we need is drastic reform.

    • Have you got any evidence?

      You ask, ‘do we need amateurs that are running down public services, destroying the NHS, keeping wages for the working, professional (take nurses) and lower management classes supressed’……?

      This sounds like a very accurate description of the Tory Parliamentary leadership.

  8. AK says:

    Great comedy last night on BBC Radio Wales ‘The Accidental AM’, about a woman with no skills and no brain being elected to the Welsh Assembly Government by default.

    Sounded like it was based on real characters!

  9. pompousfruit says:

    Primary care in Wales has only improved slightly and it is still a postcode lottery even in different part of Cardiff. It all depends on which surgery you are registered with. All GP’s should be giving patients quick and relevant examinations and some rudimentary lifestyle advice as well as a prescription. Present with the same symptoms in one surgery and then another and you will get different treatment. It’s not down to individual GP’s. They should be retrained if they are falling behind. GP’s complain that they don’t have enough time to give lifestyle advice to patients and examine them properly but they would be finishing treatment much sooner if GP’s did and that would mean fewer prescription renewals.

  10. Christopher David says:

    AK are your sure it wasn’t a documentary? Have a Hart 🙂

    • AK says:

      I don’t really blame the politicians of any party – I just think the whole system is overburdened with bureaucracy.

      My wife had to have a fairly simple operation, but had to visit three different hospitals (and the GP of course) in the process of arranging it. Try getting an appointment with a Penarth GP unless you are lucky enough to get through on the phone before 0805.

      Then the hospital managed to misplace her blood test, so she had to go back again.

      She was in Scotland at the time – could we do a blood test in a Scottish hospital and email the result? Of course not !

      All management issues, not political.

  11. Hugh says:

    Nigel Humphrey – re the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) report on academies and non-converter schools, the NFER is a lefty think-tank, so it would say that wouldn’t it? And BTW, the plural of academy is academies, not (sic) Academy’s.

    • Christopher David says:

      Oh my Hugh- why a (sic) after “not” ? I’m much better with discounted cash flow than “upper English” (sic) so please do tell I’m intrigued. Back to the subject, who thinks its a very poor show when the highest paid civil servants “run” a foundering NHS? It is now severally overburdened and badly managed. In fact I think it needs breaking up not sections, its become a ” British Leyland”.

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