Cardiff South and Penarth AM Vaughan Gething has tweeted his constituents to tell them – with a selfie – that he’s been taking a quick break in the sunshine from his onerous duties as Welsh Government Health Secretary.
Gething – who is now in charge of the NHS in Wales in the new Welsh Labour/LibDem/Plaid Coalition Government in the Welsh Assembly had told reporters that the Welsh NHS faces “difficult challenges“, but that he is “optimistic” about the future.
He says that the best way to tackle the growing demand for health services from an ageing population is to help people “live healthier lives”.
Gething says the deal reached between Labour and Plaid Cymru [to keep Labour in power] will mean prioritising the policies which both parties support – including setting up a fund for new treatments and a controversial strategy to increase the numbers of General Practitioners (GPs) in Wales.
Last weekend the newly – and eventually – re-elected First Minister Carwyn Jones, (who asserts the deal is “not a Coalition agreement“) , had publicly poured scorn on the policy of his new coalition partners – Plaid Cymru – to recruit “1,000 doctors”.
Carwyn Jones said the Labour Party had never understood the detail of the Plaid policy and it was “for them” [Plaid Cymru] “to explain”.
He said “When they talk about 1,000 doctors – what?… GPs?… Orthopaedic surgeons? …We never know. We’ve never understood the detail of that . Because we don’t understand the detail neither party can come to an agreement on that“.
Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood called the First Minister’s comments “rubbish – absolute rubbish”.
She said it had been made it very clear in the negotiations with Labour, exactly how the Plaid Cymru wants “the mix-up of doctors and care professionals to look”. Ramming the point home, she suggested that the First Minister had spoken on this matter “without being briefed”
Leanne Wood had also said all the policy details across the board had been spelled out in negotiations before Plaid Cymru had agreed to support Labour. She said Labour knew full well that the deal is that Plaid has to see progress within the current Assembly term on at least 5 of Plaid’s 9 policy pledges in the last election and by the end of the Assembly progress on all 9.
A forthcoming review of the long-term future of the NHS in Wales will – says new Health Secretary Vaughan Gething – require the input of other parties and that “Any re-organisation has to be about improving outcomes for patients” .
He wants to see more services provided in the community rather than in hospitals but has ruled out any further private sector involvement in the Welsh NHS – saying that he does not see the need for a greater role for the private sector in the organisation. He says “I’m always guided by the best interests of patients”