First minister pledges to protect Welsh NHS

11 Nov 10
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said today that his government will do all it can to protect frontline health services

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.’

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