The Welsh Labour Government’s beleaguered Health Minister Vaughan Gething has yet again been struggling to defend figures which – for the third year running – show indisputably that the performance of the NHS in Wales under Labour is far worse than in England (where it’s run by the UK Conservative Government).
Yesterday it was revealed that patients in Wales are waiting far longer for the most common operations than are patients in England.
The NHS in Wales is run by the Welsh Labour Government, under its health minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) who has signally failed to halt the increase in waiting times – never mind do anything about reducing them.
HEART BY-PASS SURGERY :Waiting times for heart by-pass surgery in Wales have doubled and risen by 43 days on last year. The wait in Wales is now 79 days – compared with only 51 days in England.
HIP REPLACEMENT: Any Welsh NHS patient needing a hip replacement operation has to wait two-and-a-half times longer than does a patient in England. The average wait for a hip operation in Wales is 215 days – compared with 82 days in the English NHS.
CATARACT OPERATIONS: Anyone needing a cataract operation in Wales now has to wait for at least 108 days . In England the wait is only 57 days.
HERNIA OPERATIONS: Hernia patients in Wales have to wait for 114 days for an operation – whereas in England patients only have to wait for 45 days.
Last night Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething attempted to defend his performance by claiming that “They have different waiting time standards in England” – a justification which is unlikely to satisfy the thousands of NHS patients in Wales who are waiting for longer for treatment than patients in England.
As Gething was challenged last night on the figures by Nick Servini of the BBC Wales Today programme he appeared to be struggling to cope with the questions and grinned intermittently as he was grilled.
Nick Servini asked him “On these figures, people want to know why is it that the English system is so much better at clearing the backlogs [ of waiting patients] than the Welsh system”.
Gething replied “They have different waiting-time standards in England.”
Servini “Better ones!”
Gething: “They have a different a waiting time standard, always have done and the challenge here is not saying ‘you must do whatever England do’… “
Servini : “I think people WOULD actually”
Gething “Well I don’t think they would..”
Servini “What? They wouldn’t want shorter waiting times?“
Gething :“I think you have to present the whole picture..” and – dodging Servini’s question – went on to assert that putting extra resources into reducing waiting times [for hip, heart, hernia and cataract operations] would – as he put it – “compromise“ performance in other parts of the Welsh NHS.
Gething then went on to make another highly questionable assertion that people in Wales would not want to have the NHS in Wales run in the way it is in England. He said: “The way the system is run in England is not something that I think people in the service, or indeed the public, would want to see “. He provided no evidence to back up what many may view as a highly-contentious and less-than-credible claim.
Meanwhile yet another Welsh Labour NHS horror story has emerged . An 80 year old man Mr John Williams has died of heart failure after having to wait almost 24 hours for an ambulance. Mr Williams had fallen and hit his head at home in Gowerton, Swansea. His son had to call for an ambulance 4 times before one eventually turned up … the following day.
When Mr Williams arrived at Morriston Hospital he was kept waiting in the ambulance for a further 7 hours before eventually being admitted. He died shortly afterwards.
The Welsh Ambulance Service is to carry out a “full investigation”.