The Welsh Labour Government, notorious for having slashed spending on the NHS in Wales, is now struggling to explain the latest scandal – a 10-hour ambulance wait suffered by a Vale of Glamorgan pensioner who was lying in agony on the floor of her home last Sunday with a broken hip.
The Welsh Labour Health Minister – in charge of the NHS in Wales – is the beleagurered Vaughan Gething – AM for Cardiff South and Penarth
The story of the injured pensioner (who despite the pleas of her family wasn’t taken to hospital until the following morning) emerged in yesterday’s questions to the First Minister Carwyn Jones.
The First Minister was challenged about the case by Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies (Conservative South Wales Central – which includes Penarth).
Mr Davies raised the issue of what he called “extreme waits” for ambulances which have endured by Welsh NHS patients.He quoted examples of “a gentleman in Dinas Powys, who waited 16 hours to receive an ambulance” , a Swansea woman whose ambulance turned up 20 hours late and – on Sunday – a lady in Cowbridge lying on the floor of her home with a broken hip for “ten and a half hours” .
First Minister Carwyn Jones was asked by Mr Davies “What measures are you putting in place to address those deeply distressing wait times that families, patients and, indeed, the paramedics and operators of the ambulance service have to deal with?
Labour AMs quickly became pre-occupied with whatever was on the lap-top screens as Carwyn Jones made the cringe-worthy statement-of-the-obvious that – when there were ambulance delays – “there will be occasions where some people are affected adversely” . He went on to say such cases needed to be looked at very carefully and investigated, and “lessons learned” from such examples.
Carwyn Jones then however then however appeared to blame NHS doctors for the delays by saying “the ambulance response times model was devised by clinicians. It is designed to ensure that those who are most in need of an ambulance get an ambulance.” and went on to claim that “ ambulance response times have improved greatly over the past few months”.
During the exchange the Welsh Labour Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething remained in his front-bench seat.