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Just how far in the sand can Labour bury their heads?

June 20, 2014 10:30 AM

Labour Health Minister Mark Drakeford this week defended his Government's record on health in Wales using the ridiculous argument that it is better than it was in 1999 when the Assembly first came into being.

He is obviously not concerned that Wales lags behind England in so many ways and that whatever improvements he claims there have been have still not been enough to give the people of Wales the level of service they have a right to expect.

Figures provided by the Welsh Government and NHS England show that waiting times in Wales are far behind England in many service areas including for diagnostic tests, referral to treatment times and Accident and Emergency.

For the end of April 2014, figures show:

• 27% of Welsh patients wait over 18 weeks to start treatment in Wales, while just 6.2% are waiting the same period in England

• 12% of Welsh patients wait longer than 4 hours in A&E, while in England only 4.2% wait longer than 4 hours

• 30% of Welsh patients wait over 8 weeks for diagnostic tests, whilst in England just 2% wait over 6 weeks

A recent freedom of information request to Cwm Taf Health Board showed that there is a 73 week wait for hearing tests in this area.

Ambulance response times in RCT are constantly at or near the bottom of the league tables - for the past few months they have hovered around 43% of emergency calls responded to within 8 minutes.

That is a disgraceful testament to life under Labour in Wales.