Labour Exposed on False Promises for GP Access, Wales Deserves Better – Leanne

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Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has criticised the Labour Government for breaking a promise to make GPs more accessible.

An analysis has found that the Welsh Government has failed to implement a key manifesto pledge to extend surgery opening times to allow more appointments outside of working hours. An analysis has found that provision in some areas has deteriorated.

In its 2011 manifesto, Labour vowed to increase the availability of local GP services in the evenings and Saturday mornings. And in a statement in the Senedd in 2011, the Health Minister set out that the work would happen in three phases between 2012/13 and 2014/15.

At that time, that work was intended to include increasing the availability of appointments during core hours, increasing the availability of appointments before 8.00 am and after 6.30 pm, and increasing the availability of weekend appointments.

But analysis of the Statistics for Wales GP Access survey between 2012 and 2018 showed that progress had been extremely patchy, and provision had decreased in terms of out-of-core-hours and weekend appointments.

A survey from 2014/15 - which was meant to be Phase 3 of the Labour Government’s plans - showed that just one practice in all of Wales – in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg – offered appointments on alternate Saturdays. This represents a decrease from the 2 practices which offered Saturday appointments in 2014.

Ms Wood said: “This is yet more disappointment on health from the Labour Government in Wales. Not only have they failed to deliver on a key manifesto pledge but figures like this erode trust in politics when we can ill afford it.

“People voted for this policy in good faith; what we have seen since 2011 is a break in the trust place in Labour to deliver.

“GP provision and access has deteriorated in some cases. That is unacceptable.

“It is even more galling when you see the Labour Party in England promise to improve GP access if they win a General Election. They are in power in Wales and could do something about this now but either choose not to or are just incapable of seeing through their promises.

“Our communities in the Rhondda deserve better than this. People who work during the day also deserve to have access to an NHS that works for them.

“Our government should be in the business of transforming Wales, not managing decline. If Plaid Cymru is elected as the next government of Wales then we will see a positive transformation across all areas but especially in our NHS.”

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