The beleaguered Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) has now made a public apology for the mass cancellation of scheduled operations in the National Health Service in Wales.
Hundreds of patients – many of them in pain – waiting for routine operations have had their procedures postponed whilst the NHS in Wales concentrates on winter emergency admissions instead.
Gething – for whom it seems the word “sorry” never comes easily – was put in a position where he had no option but to make a public apology after the chief executive of the NHS in Wales – Andrew Goodall – used the so-called “s-word” in a radio interview.
Even so, Gething’s apology was only a conditional “semi-apology” – hedged around with weasel-word “if”. He said “Well of course I’m sorry if anyone has had their planned treatment interrupted by the extraordinary pressures we’re seeing in the Emergency System”.
Gething went on to say that “in any event” – in planning for Winter – the NHS normally reduces its level of planned admissions for operations . But he said “given the pressures we’ve seen, understandably there have been extra cancellations have taken place “(sic) .
NHS patients waiting for knee-surgery will not have been heartened to hear Gething saying “I don’t actually think that anyone facing a planned operation that’s cancelled will say that it’s more important that they have treatment than somebody who is genuine emergency. Who on earth would say it is more important they have an operation for example on their knee than a frail 85-year-old who really needs to be in a hospital bed in an emergency situation?”.
[PDN Note: Gething has also said there are 350 people occupying hospital beds in Wales who are perfectly fit and don’t need to be in hospital at all – but can’t be found alternative accommodation]
Gething said “But I’m genuinely sorry that if anyone has had their care or treatment postponed because of the pressure we’re facing – of course I’m sorry”.