By Vivienne Russell
11 November 2010
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said today that his
government will do all it can to protect frontline health services.
The Welsh Assembly Government will next week publish its
draft budget for the next four years. Jones would not reveal any details but,
in a speech to the NHS Confederation’s Welsh conference, said: ‘The NHS is, and
always will be, a priority for the Assembly Government, and we are doing all we
can to protect this cherished service.’
Jones also highlighted the differences between the Welsh and
English NHS. The NHS in Wales was characterised by partnership and a
co-operative ethos, he said, while in England, Health Secretary Andrew
Lansley’s market-based reforms would lead to ‘waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency’.
He added: ‘Services will improve only if GPs can work with
others in a co-operative environment.
‘Contrast that with the approach our health service is
taking – an approach based on collaboration, not competition. The model that we
are following in Wales is essential if we are to successfully tackle the issues
that cut across all public services.’
The first minister concluded his speech by saying the NHS
was ‘the pride of Wales’ as the homeland of its founder, 1940s Labour health
secretary Aneurin Bevan.
‘Past experience has shown what happens when financial
pressures are translated into all-round cuts in services – with those in
greatest need often taking the biggest hit.
‘It’s that overarching principle of chwarae teg, fair play to all our people, on which the NHS was
founded and on which my government is basing its priorities.’