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New First Minister must seize the opportunity to improve the Welsh NHS

The transition of government in Wales provides a fresh opportunity for bold change and improvement to the Welsh NHS, according to the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

During Mark Drakeford’s inaugural First Minister’s Questions, Paul Davies AM called on the Welsh Government to seize the opportunity to modernise the NHS Wales, and to capitalise on the increase in funding that will come to Wales as a result of UK Government investment.

During his questions, Mr Davies made reference to some of the failings in the Welsh NHS, including:

  • Welsh health boards are collectively facing a deficit of £360m;
  • A&E waiting times have not been met since their implementation in 2009;
  • Patients are routinely waiting longer than one year for vital surgery;
  • Wales’ largest health board – Betsi Cadwaladr – is in Special Measures and has been for over three and a half years

The Preseli Pembrokeshire AM specifically called on Mr Drakeford’s Government to publish a 10 year NHS strategy for Wales, so that it meets the level of ambition and commitment shown by the UK Conservative Government.

Speaking outside the Chamber, the Welsh Conservative leader said:

“The First Minister is no stranger to the challenges faced by Wales’ health service because many of these happened under his watch when he was Health Minister in 2013.

“But now, as First Minister, this new Government is under his stewardship and it has a unique opportunity to provide the bold change and improvements that our NHS so desperately needs.

“The hundreds of millions coming to Wales as a result of the UK Government’s investment in health services need to be used to modernise the Welsh NHS and deliver timely, fit-for-purpose care that the people of Wales rightly deserve.

“The NHS in Wales has been starved under the Welsh Labour Government for too long, and the new First Minister can fix it. All he must do is seize this rare opportunity.”