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16th October 2015

Plan to 'abolish social care' charges policy put forward

Plaid Cymru has announced it would 'abolish social care' charges if elected to govern in next year's Welsh Assembly elections. It said the changes – costing £226m – would be phased in, with charges not ending completely until a second term of a Plaid Welsh government.

The party also unveiled plans to abolish Wales' health boards and place major hospitals under one body.

Labour warned it would mean "years of chaotic and costly reorganisation".

Under Plaid's re-organisation proposals, which the party said could take three years to bring in, responsibility for planning and running acute and specialist hospitals would be carried out by one national hospital board.

Local authorities would manage community services, but the party said some larger authorities could devolve responsibility to large groups of GPs.

The plans were ridiculed by the Welsh Labour government as "the end of the NHS as we know it",

A spokesman for Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Plaid is proposing little more than the break up of the NHS and condemning the health service to years of chaotic, confusing and a hugely costly reorganisation with these nonsensical plans to give local politicians direct control of planning community services, including GP care and mental healthcare, at a time when money should be invested in frontline services."

Conservative shadow health spokesman Darren Millar said "another expensive change" was not the answer to the "significant problems" facing the Welsh NHS.

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