WITH A&E waiting times for NHS treatment in England currently dominating the news, North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood is calling on the Labour-led Welsh Government to start focusing on its own health service, where he says 16.2% of patients - more than double the rate in England - waited longer than four hours in A&E.
He said: “Only in Wales, where Labour run the NHS, have there have been cuts to health spending and the performance of Accident and Emergency departments in Wales is worse than in England.
“According to the latest available data, A&E performance in England, where 92.6% of patients were seen in time October to December, is the best in the UK.
“The data in the other nations lags behind England. In Wales the data from November shows just 83.8% of patients were seen in time. In England the data from the last week of November shows 93.5% of patients were seen in time, almost 10% higher than in Wales. Northern Ireland is performing even worse - just over 80% of patients were seen within four hours in November. In Scotland 93.5% of patients were seen in four hours during September, but comparing the September figures for England and Scotland shows England was performing slightly better.
“In England, the Conservative-led UK Government has protected the health budget. In Wales, it continues to suffer the consequences of Labour’s record-breaking cuts. That’s why performance is not on a par with England – and that’s why patients are forced to wait longer for treatment here.”
He added: “NHS Wales is something to be valued and protected, but, despite the best efforts of frontline NHS staff in Wales, patients are waiting longer for NHS treatment than pati ents in England.
“Labour should stop trying to score political points and accept that long-term pressures from an ageing population can only be addressed by a long-term plan to invest in the NHS.
“Labour’s First Minister would be wise to focus upon his own health service. Figures showed NHS England missed its A&E waiting time target for the last three months of 2014, but A and E waiting times haven’t been met by NHS Wales in over five years, ambulance response times in Wales are at their lowest since 2011, and one in seven people in Wales are on a waiting list for trea tment.
“As recently as last week a dozen ambulances were seen queuing outside one Welsh hospital, while this Labour First Minister continues to dismiss Welsh Conservative calls for a cancer treatments fund.”