National Left - Wales needs a progressive left future.
Wednesday, 8 May 2019
Welsh Health Minister faces vote of no confidence.
This Blog has longed called for a consensus in the Assembly when it comes to NHS Provision in Wales. For far to long we have manifesto and statements announcing policies that will see more money provided for the NHS, but very little plans that will improve services on the ground from all sides.
Nevertheless it is fully understandable A motion of no-confidence in Wales' health minister over failings in Cwm Taf's maternity services will be debated by assembly members later.
Plaid Cymru's call for the vote on Vaughan Gething's position follows a report that said hospital services were "dysfunctional".The Conservatives have also said he should be sacked.Defending Mr Gething, First Minister Mark Drakeford called for a "serious response", not "scalp-hunting".
Mr Gething, who has rejected calls to quit, put services into special measures last week when failings were exposed at the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles hospitals in the south Wales valleys. A review was prompted by 25 serious incidents, including eight stillbirths and five neonatal deaths, between January 2016 and last September. It also found that the watchdog, Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW), had a "relatively light touch". Plaid health spokesperson Helen Mary Jones said bosses in the NHS were directly accountable to the minister.
"Time and again, the health minister has not only failed to get to grips with the challenges facing our Welsh NHS but has failed to take responsibility for such failings as well,"
Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies said:
"It is completely unacceptable that Mr Gething is still presiding over healthcare in Wales."
But in the Senedd, Mr Drakeford said demanding Mr Gething's dismissal "simply trivialises" the situation. Mr Gething had given
"a serious reaction to a genuinely serious position, and that's the sort of health service and that's the sort of government that I think people in Wales are entitled to see and to continue to see in the future", Mr Drakeford added.
The Labour Welsh Government is expected to defeat the no-confidence motion, providing all its AMs, and two non-Labour politicians who back the administration, are present in the Senedd chamber to vote against it. Out of the 60 assembly members 29 are Labour but the Welsh Government also includes Liberal Democrat AM and Education Minister Kirsty Williams and independent Lord Elis-Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.
In a previous Senedd debate on the report, former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: "I wonder how much of a problem this would have been in a more affluent area - poorer people's views are often easily dismissed across a whole range of public services.
"So often do I hear about people being treated differently to how those from middle class backgrounds would have been treated."
Call me a sceptic but there seems not a coincidence that the criticism of both Hospitals but particularly the Royal Glamorgan comes after what is seen as a controversial reform. Only recently we were informed maternity changes, which will take place on9th March 2019, Cwm Taf claimed that it means
that if you are likely to need specialist medical care when you are in labour or if your baby should need specialist neonatal care then this will only be available in the Cwm Taf Health Board area from Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. This does not mean that we are taking maternity services away from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.All antenatal services, clinic appointments, scans and tests in pregnancy will still be available in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital exactly as they are now. The only difference is the services that will be available to you when you go into labour.Maternity services will still be provided 24 hours a day at Royal Glamorgan Hospital but they will be provided by midwives, and not by doctors. You can choose to have your baby in either hospital, but if you have a complicated pregnancy or need doctor-led care when you are giving birth you will need to deliver at Prince Charles Hospital.
This does not mean that the very damaging revelations are not true but must be addressed but it follows a pattern from the Welsh Government Quangos who announce a series of problems which result in major reforms , which would have seen concerted opposition. Certainly for people living the Royal Glamorgan Hospital who have no access to personal transport , the journey to Prince Charles in Merthyr could involve three journeys by public transport. I have always come under the impression that those making the decisions on creating new or moving old services all drive and have absolutely no idea of how those who don't or can't access them. Whether yo think Mr Gething should take all the flak for the current mess, whilst those on the Cwm Taf board who are directly responsible carry on may depend on your political allegiance. The Third Rate Minister Mark Drakeford call for a "serious response", not "scalp-hunting" however would hold water if Labour had not been in power in Cardiff Bay for twenty years. Twenty years of failure is far to long and the argument that it needs a change of government that could see improvement. But those Parties who wish to replace Labour need to have an alternative policy and the means of implementing it.