Wales has some of the UK’s worst access to healthcare according to report
The Centre for Towns has found Welsh residents are disadvantaged in at least one aspect of healthcare, no matter where they live.
The think tank discovered those living in Wales’ core city – Cardiff – would face the joint longest travels of Britain’s core cities to their nearest GP (1km), pharmacy (0.8km), and dentist (1km).
The 12 core cities include Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow, and the English and Scottish capitals.
People would find they’d have to travel further to a GP from a Welsh village than in Scotland or eight of the nine English regions, at 4.3km.
Wales also found itself it had the longest distance to travel for those visiting a dentist from a small town – 1.6km – and the joint-longest from a medium town – 1.5km.
The Coming Crisis: Access to Health in Our Towns analysed the access people across Great Britain have to a GP, hospital, dentist, and pharmacy depending on what kind of area they live in – village, community, small, medium, or large town, or the core city.
The report says:
“Of course, the distance between home and a local health service is only a part of the challenge faced by those in towns and villages when choosing to access local health services.
“The lived experience of getting to a hospital means getting in a car or taxi or using public transport to get to those services. If a hospital is thirty miles away but it takes ninety minutes to get there, accessibility to health becomes a transport issue.”
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Angela Burns said:
“We know Wales has a challenge in addressing the urban-rural divide, but so does the North-West of England – yet we are the ones having to travel the longest distances to several forms of healthcare, not them.
“These facts show two things: that rural Wales is being left behind, and those in Cardiff have inferior access compared to those in London, Edinburgh, and other major British cities.
“Nearly two decades of Labour Welsh Government and their management of the NHS has resulted in failure – just look at ten years of missing its own A&E target or Betsi Cadwaladr health board spending three years in special measures.
“Wales has again fallen behind other parts of the UK. But this is not exclusive to healthcare – whether it is in the NHS, education, the economy, Wales has been let down by the so-called party of the NHS. Only a change in government can end this decline.”