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No answer from Labour on OECD survey

Labour’s First Minister today failed to commit Wales to taking part in an independent OECD survey of the state of the NHS in all four nations of the United Kingdom.

Welsh Conservatives have called on the Welsh Government to agree to the survey to enable a transparent assessment of NHS performance across the UK.

Today, under questioning from the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies AM, the Labour leader refused to commit to the OECD undertaking its survey.

Andrew RT Davies AM said, “Transparency is a beacon of light that draws our attention to any wrongdoing or failings, which could be addressed to drive up standards.

“Patients and NHS staff will be incredulous that Labour Ministers wish to sweep any concerns under the carpet and dismiss the opportunity to identify shortcomings and improve NHS standards.

“The OECD is a respected and authoritative independent body, which could give an evidence-based insight into Welsh NHS standards and how they compare with other parts of the UK.

“Pulling out of this survey would be an astonishing act of denial by Labour Ministers.

“I believe that every elected representative in Wales wants to see an improvement in NHS standards, but to deny the opportunity to identify shortcomings betrays the trust of NHS patients.

“With record-breaking NHS budget cuts, overlong waiting times and poor access to cancer drugs, communities will rightly question if Labour is simply running scared from similar conclusions on the NHS.

“An independent OECD survey would give patients the chance to see who is on the right side of the argument – patients and NHS staff or Labour politicians.”

Commenting on evidence given to the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, which shows that three of the seven Welsh health boards are in an escalated state of Welsh Government intervention, Andrew RT Davies AM, said:

“This is further evidence that alarm bells in the Welsh NHS are sounding.

“Almost half of Wales’ seven health boards are in a state of escalated Welsh Government intervention, while North Wales’ health board is in the most severe category.

“This suggests that Welsh Labour Ministers do not have confidence in Welsh health bosses and that some health boards are not fit to run NHS services.

“Labour dismissed warnings of ‘imminent meltdown’ by doctors’ groups, ignored evidence of high death rates and failed to act on missed waiting time targets.

“This comes after warnings in North Wales’ health board’s own minutes that hundreds of bladder cancer patients are awaiting treatment and that some urology patients face the very worst waiting times in the UK.

“What will it take for Labour Ministers to agree to an open and transparent assessment of NHS services in Wales?”