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10th March 2014

Mark Drakeford defends performance of Welsh NHS after London ministers' attacks

The Welsh Government's health minister Mark Drakeford has defended the record of the Welsh NHS on Radio 4's Today Programme and in a debate at the Senedd after attacks by Westminster Conservatives including Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Drakeford said Conservatives' criticism of the Welsh NHS was a disgraceful and partisan attempt to" drag the reputation of the NHS in Wales through the mud".

Jeremy Hunt (on March 5) said that the lessons of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust appeared not to have been learnt in Wales. Speaking in the house of commons he added: "Although health is a devolved issue, unfortunately failures in care in Wales are now having a direct impact on NHS services in England with a 10% rise since 2010 in the number of Welsh patients using English A&E departments, leading to very real additional pressure on border town hospitals."

The criticism followed the Freedom of Information Request which saw the release of an email written by Sir Bruce Keogh, director of NHS England, to his counterpart Dr Chris Jones, director of the NHS in Wales, to raise the issue of mortality rates in Wales.

Mr Drakeford said that far from not learning the lessons of the (Mid Staffs) Francis Inquiry much has happened in Wales as a result of its findings. He cited changes including:

  • investing £10m in more nurses to care for patients
  • a review of the current complaints procedures

Mr Drakeford added: “As Mr Hunt is all too aware, A&E attendances have risen across England in the last four years – to blame this trend solely on Welsh patients is misleading."

Read more on this story

Listen: Welsh NHS not under-performing (Mark Drakeford speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme)

Read: Drakeford hits back at attempts to drag Welsh NHS through the mud (WalesOnline)

Read: Jeremy Hunt says Welsh Goverment hasn't learned Mid Staffs lessons (WalesOnline)

Read: Investigation into death rates at Welsh hospitals ruled out (WalesOnline)



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