The First Minister seems uneasy as he's asked  by the audience "Why did you screw-up the NHS in Wales?". In an unsteady start he adopted the familiar fall-back position of blaming the Conservative Government.

The First Minister of Wales seems uneasy as he’s asked by a member of the audience “Why did you screw-up the NHS in Wales?”. In an unsteady start, he adopted Labour’s  familiar fall-back position of blaming the Conservative Government.

The Welsh Labour Government First Minister Carwyn Jones seemed momentarily discomfited by the first question he was asked by a member of the audience in the BBC’s live “Ask the Leader” public debate series last night.

A member of the BBC studio audience Laura Davies asked the question that put the  First Minister off his stride

A member of the BBC studio audience Laura Davies asked the question that put the First Minister off his stride

A member of the audience Laura Jones weighed in with the first question “Why did you screw up the NHS in Wales? “ – a leading question which Jones (a former barrister)  should have been able to bat away with ease.

But rather than an outright denial, there was a momentary pause  – and a loss of eye contact – before the First Minister came back to say ” Let me give you as full an answer as I can. Our budget was cut by 10% by the Conservative Government. But despite that we spent more on Health than ever before.” 

Blaming the Conservative Government for everything has been a hallmark of Labour’s administration in Cardiff Bay. Carwyn Jones went on to say that in 2011 the Welsh Labour Government spent 42% of its budget on Health and that figure was now 46%.

However the question, of course, had not been about the amount of money spent, but on Labour’s actual performance at the helm of the National Health Service in Wales. Laura Jones and other members of the audience reminded the First Minister that the North Wales Health Board – [the ridiculously named “Betsi Cadwaladr NHS Trust”] – had had to be put into special measures under Labour – and still remains  in special measures today.

Welsh Deputy Health Minister and former Penarth Labour AM  Vaughan Gething

Welsh Deputy Health Minister and former Penarth Labour AM Vaughan Gething

Vaughan Gething – who is hoping to be re-elected Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth  – was the Welsh Government’s Deputy Health Minister when the Betsi Cadwaladr crisis erupted. The situation remains unresolved.

BBC Political editor Nick Servini said the programme was “a tough half an hour for the First Minister”. Servini said diplomatically “Was he on the ropes or not? – I don’t know – but certainly the audience landed some punches and he didn’t  get off  to a particularly good start.

Servini noted that Carwyn Jones had first had to deal with an incredibly direct question – ‘Why did you screw up the NHS?’. 

Servini said the First Minister had answered not by denying the charge – or by giving a strong defence – but by blaming the Conservatives at Westminster . This , Servini said, reinforced the view of many of the First Minister’s critics in that he is ” too quick to blame others – rather than take responsibility at times” .     

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  1. Chris Franks says:

    Did he explain why Labour has produced substantially longer waiting times for testing and treatment than the rest of the Uk ? We need more doctors and nurses – which is Plaid’s policy.

    • Heather Chambers says:

      The funny thing is Chris that the one of the main reasons why Wales is short of Doctors and Nurses is due to devolved practices within the NHS in Wales. Once you commit to a job in Wales it very hard to transfer to England again.
      With names like Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board it is not surprising that no one from outside Wales even bothers to apply for jobs here.
      Ever wondered why Junior Doctors are not on strike here? They have to pay them more, otherwise we would have no one left.
      I know, I work for the NHS in Wales!

      PS with a EU population of 550million people, why do we have to go to Asia to find Doctors and Nurses?

    • Philip Rapier says:

      There was a time when the Bahamas was famous for sponges now it is famous for Panamanian Tax Scheme Spongers. If only the Toriy Donors would pay their taxes instead of buying Knighthoods we would have more than enough to go round for everything. Osborne cutting Wales NHS Budget and cutting their DWP Benefits at the same time has consequences reaching far beyond inhuman cruelty. The questioners might just has easily have asked -.Why are the Tories at Westminster through the DWP allowed to grave rob the living, the chronicaly sick, disabled and terminally ill.?

      Consider the case of ghoulish treatment to this Port Talbot woman by the Tory Westmister contolled DWP reported in Wales on Line Today
      From Wales on Line 10.00 a.m 16 April 2016

      After fulfilling her “dying wish” of marrying her partner Sean, 30, thanks to a fundraising campaign which raised more than £5,000, Marie returned home from her honeymoon in Cardigan to find a letter from the DWP which told her she was no longer entitled to a mobility car after they carried out an assessment………..

      If her appeal was unsuccessful, Marie’s Ford would have been returned to the DWP on Tuesday and she would have been left without a vital lifeline…….

      Marie said: “I can’t get around without the car because of the oxygen tanks and the fact I can’t walk very far. I wouldn’t have been able to leave the house……….

      Last year Marie, formally known as Marie Kenifick Henry, was told she might not have long left to live after her body rejected a lung transplant.”—–(ends)

      The appeal was I am pleased to say successful.

      • Peter Church says:

        No mention of RT Davies in today’s Labour fire side chat, still you managed to get in the word Toriy (who ever they are?)
        As a famous Welsh Conservative said; the march of Labour goes; Left, left, left, left.

  2. hopenotnasty says:

    I am sorry Chris but we all remember the Lib Dems promising everything in opposition to get votes.
    This smacks of similar gestures. People need to be aware of opposition parties making promises they cannot keep.

  3. Christopher David says:

    NHS wales and Wales’s top earners. The first three people here receive more pay than the Permanent Secretary! Andrew Goodall, Job: Chief executive of NHS Wales and director general health and social services. Salary: £195,000 to £200,000 Dr Ruth Hussey.Job: Chief medical officer. Salary: £190,000 to £195,000. Chris Jones, Job: Deputy chief medical officer. Salary: £165,000 to £170,000
    Then we have the Labour politico’s. Our own Vaughan Gething, Deputy Minister of Health, he would be paid £85,000 a year from May 2016. The NHS Wales annual budget is £6 billion. Minister responsible. Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services- didn’t he just take a pay rose from £96,000 to £100,000 plus? Then pay the front liners in the NHS i.e. nurses 1% more? £6 Billion is circa 40 % of the entire annual Wales budget and this lot between them have made a right mess of it. Please remember this in the coming elections.

    • Heather Chambers says:

      Spot on Chris.
      The biggest problem with NHS in Wales is its too small, it does not attract any management talent, they pay way above the going rate and still end up with spivs in suits who have not got a clue. Promoted to that level on the basis of who they know in Welsh politics rather than what they know about Welsh hospitals.

  4. whatsoccurin says:

    Democracy to be healthy needs to have changes in political power-Wales will never turn against Labour-The best we can hope for is a coalition government-Friends in England with elderly relatives tell me that they are quite happy with the reasonable waiting times for NHS treatment-the Welsh Labour run NHS will always favour staff over service-users.

  5. Andrew sarchus says:

    Yes Mr Franks but Plaid would eat up another half a billion insisting all staff are trained in the Welsh language- all records kept in both languages etc etc. Not good really is it adding to the £500 million the tax payer already forks out every year supporting Welsh! The job could be done at a fraction with an opt in policy and then we’d have a few hundred more million to add to the NHS budget.

  6. pompousfruit says:

    The Conservative AM’s should they take control of the Assembly (very unlikely) would screw up the NHS in Wales even further and deliberately as well.

  7. Rhodri says:

    BBC Wales needs to be careful making programmes like this – opening up ivory tower Labour “politicians” to genuine questioning by members of the public (especially if they’re not sycophants wheeled in to “bump up the studio audience”).. Bet Carwyn isn’t so keen to do this sort of thing again. Far better the easy ride he gets in one-to-one interviews with what seems to me to be very Left-leaning “journalists” in the Welsh media. Not so shiny when it’s no-holds-barred questioning at the coal face.

  8. Christopher David says:

    Spot on Rhodri- a little hash in places but the sentiment is spot on. Why Pompous? Do you think back door privatisation will be on the agenda when we get £6 billion from England to support what we have? They may attempt a restructure and stop spending on non core health services, health tourists and strip the management structure but why would they wreck it? Just asking.

  9. Peter Church says:

    Anyone see the article where the Labour politician Chris Elmore declared a false address on his nomination paper for Ogmore, despite living in the Vale of Glamorgan. This is against Electoral Law

    Labour: Don’t trust them.

  10. Mr Wesley Powell says:

    Having more and more layers of democracy just creates a system of buck passing.
    Those who collect our taxes should be responsible for the spending of those taxes.
    The 60 AMs are a waste of space no matter what party they represent, they look after themselves primarily and give the illusion of being in power.
    So, when Scotland voted NO why does Westminster think that we in Wales need more devolved powers. My vote is going to these people, the only ones who might save us all some money.

  11. Mark Foster says:

    You will never solve the problem by ignoring it.

    When you go to a doctor’s surgery in Penarth or to the Heath Hospital, what proportion of the people in the waiting room are immigrants?

    • whatsoccurin says:

      more often patients attending with a petty issue, a splint in the finger, a jagged toe nail,a head cold etc-or patients who just want to avoid paying for plasters, aspirins or indigestion tablets by getting them on a free prescription-once when I visited a lady was loudly arguing with a receptionist over a prescription for her gluten free bread!

  12. Christopher David says:

    Yes what’s occurring- a nurse treating me told me they even get people coming in with a hangover looking for free tabs. But there are huge unnecessary pressures on our HNS. These include health tourists and the provision of non core health treatments. The gluten free bread women needs battering 😉

Comments are closed.