I have questioned the Labour Welsh Government on the capacity of the NHS locally to meet demand. This was in light of a number of patients and staff at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital getting in touch with me to express their frustrations at ward closures and cancelled operations.
As you will see from the exchange below, it seems the Labour Government in Wales believes there is no need for “different systems and a different way of working.” In contrast, Plaid Cymru has pledged to recruit 1,000 doctors to ensure hospitals like the Royal Glamorgan hospital offer a full range of services. Please click here to support our campaign.
Leanne Wood: Will the Minister make a statement on the capacity of the NHS in Wales to meet patient demand?
Vaughan Gething: I thank the Member for the question. The NHS in Wales continues to manage increasing demand in both unscheduled care services and planned care services. This winter, however, has demonstrated improved resilience in the face of increased demand in Wales. Delivering high-quality care in the future will require reform and improvement in health and social care as well as a change in public attitudes and behaviour.
Leanne Wood: In recent weeks, I’ve been contacted by NHS staff concerned at the way that hospitals are being run in Wales and to share their frustrations at the number of operations that have had to be cancelled. You’ll know from private correspondence that a constituent of mine has had to face repeated cancellations for a procedure to investigate whether or not she has cancer. When you add the anecdotal evidence to the hard data that 950 operations were cancelled at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital alone since April 2013 because beds were unavailable, and a further 136 were cancelled because equipment was unavailable, can you understand the collective frustration of NHS staff and patients?
Vaughan Gething: I think any member of staff will be frustrated when operative procedures are cancelled or moved. I know, in particular, the frustration that the member of the public feels. I can’t, obviously, comment on the individual case that we’re corresponding about, but what I would say is that, overall, within the system, we know there’s much greater elective activity taking place this year compared to last year, particularly through winter, and that’s been a real success story of the NHS this winter, that they’ve dealt with additional winter pressures and, at the same time, even more elective activity has taken place. There’s a whole range of factual evidence for that. So, I recognise the need to continue to do more. That does mean, though, that we need different systems and a different way of working now and in the future.
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