Thursday, 12 March 2015

Welsh NHS Cross Party Commission Falls at First Fence.

Welll once again I have sen the best f the NHS. Having my OP last Friday and after having round the clock care returned home on Tuesday to carry on the recovery process and I would like to thank all the staff of B4 and T4 wards (Neurological ) from the Surgeon  down to the ward cleaners for their care .

So it is a coincidence that my first Blog  since leaving Hospital will be on  the fact that  the  proposed commission looking into the future of the NHS (something I have advocated in the past  is now looking unlikely to happen after Plaid Cymru joined the Welsh Conservatives in saying they would not take part.
Plaid’s Elin Jones said it was not the right time to set up such a “political” commission.

According to the Wasting Mule to the Welsh Liberal Democrat leader La Pasionaria (Kirsty Williams) who  had come up with the idea for the cross-party probe and had won support from Welsh Government health minister Mark Drakeford and First Minister Carwyn Jones.p lans for a commission were revealed in February, when the Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford wrote to the Lib Dem leader setting out an agreement in principle.

Confirming the offer of a commission at the time, Mr Drakeford said:

 "Discussions about the long-term future of the Welsh NHS should sit outside the knockabout of day-to-day party politics.

The proposal would have seen a year-long cross-party investigation into how the NHS in Wales could be improved. and since we will be having an election next year for the Assembly it would be odd if nee of the major devolved issues  which even now is still party of the Westminster campaign of all the parties here in Waled would not loom large in the 2016 assembly Elections.

Since the state of the Welsh NHS  has been one of the Welsh LibDems  major bugbears and La Pasionaria  has proved to be one of most effective AMs on the subject it does seem odd that she seemed eager to surrender one of her most potent themes.

She ssaid
: "Time and time again both Plaid and the Tories have shown they are more interested in putting politics first,rather than patients.
“This is disappointing as it was a real chance to take some forward steps in improving our NHS for staff and patients alike."
It is Ironic however that today  the Lib Dems Blog Subordinate Central has AM Aled  Roberts commuting on Breast Cancer  care. at Ysbyty Glan Llwyd.

In response a Welsh Government source said: “It now appears there is no chance of a cross-party commission. and appeared to place the blame for the collapse of the idea of a convention on the Lib Dems

This is a matter of real regret and owes in no short measure to the cack-handed way in which the Liberals leaked the correspondence as a spoiler to the Welsh Labour conference.”
Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman Elin Jones said the timing of the commission was not right given the recent political rows involving the NHS and the forthcoming elections.
"Election time is not the time to be discussing impartially the future of the NHS," she said.
"Fundamentally, it was a commission that was going to be confined by party politics rather than released from the interference of political parties."

I fully support the idea of a commission  but we are in effect facing a year long election campaign  taking in GE2015 and the 2013 Assembly Elections .

For the life of me I can;t see any Party including the LIB Dems who often appear to be Shroud Waving  to keep quiet and not come up with headline grabbing promises of more Doctors , more Nurses mixed with opposition to Hospital reorganisations.

Maybe after 2016 we may have an opportunity for  such a commission the NHS to be examined not from a oppositional politics but something that can become that will benefit the people of Wales. But for now we wil only have seen  the Welsh LibDem leader in particular  making valid points  at First Minister Question and grabbing a few headlines whilst claiming to be  taking a positive lead on a commission trying to resolve the issues.


  1. A commission of this kind would only be of any real value if it led to improvements for the most important people in this debate - nhs users in wales. (which is probably 99.9 percent of the welsh population) At present it sadly appears that even if any such commission had got off the ground it would have been used by the various parties to score pre election political points rather than addressing the real problems confronting the welsh nhs.....problems which any party would have difficulty in solving.

    These problems are the result of economic, demographic and historical factors in wales. The welsh economy - largely as a result of the actions of westminister government's - has been in decline for 3 decades, with widespread poverty and the range of health problems this brings being the result. We have a large ageing population - and as people get older its a fact they will need the services of the nhs more.

    These are the reasons why comparisons between the nhs in wales and in england are deeply unfair, england is a relatively wealthy country with numerous fabulously rich communities - wales is possibly the poorest country in western europe. A better and more accurate comparison would be to compare say the health service in wales to that of the north east of there are clear economic, historical and demographic similarities between the two.

    Further amid all the rows and points scoring that takes place between the parties in the senedd about the welsh nhs it seems to get overlooked that around half the welsh budget currently goes into the health service in wales, indeed we could probably spend the entire bloc grant on the welsh health service and it still wouldnt be enough.

    These long term economic, historical and demographic factors which place so much pressure on the welsh nhs arent going to go away no matter who is in power in the senedd or what extra powers we gain. Indeed the pressures on the welsh nhs will probably intensify in the coming years.

    The only likelhood of this improving in the future - and we are probably talking in the long term future here - is if we address the structural problems with the welsh economy and if we invest far more in preventitive health measures.

    Welcome back Glyn.

  2. Glad your operation went well and you're back home, wishing you a speedy recovery.

    I'd agree a commission on the NHS would be welcome, but if it's not going to look at everything it has no real value other than for Welsh Government Minsiter saying is being done and Elin Jones is right the political atmosphere is febrile and not conducive to serious long term policy debate on the shape of the Welsh NHS.

    I also agree with Green Dragon if we had a stronger economy a lot of the physical and mental health problems in blackspots like the Valleys and the associated social problems would be reduced considerably and how we get a fully functioning welsh economy is what welsh politics sole focus should be in my opinion.