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.]
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)
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.”
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.”
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.”