Plaid Cymru will set out pledges today which it says amount to a plan to 'save and strengthen the NHS.' The party is due to unveil its promises later at Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth. The four main pledges are:
- Recruit a thousand extra doctors, improve access to GPs and cut waiting times.
- Fully integrate Health and Social Care services
- Increasing the capacity of the ambulance service, nursing and paramedic staff.
- Oppose the TTIP EU trade deal that Plaid Cymru claims could lead to the privatisation of the NHS.
Plaid's Public Services spokesperson Hywel Williams MP said the plan sets out the steps needed 'to build a world-class healthcare system.'
Plaid Cymru has plans to recruit a thousand extra doctors to the NHS, to fully integrate Health and Social Care services, and to invest in more ambulances, nurses and paramedics. We will oppose the damaging EU trade agreement that could lead to the privatisation of the NHS.
Our plans will increase capacity, bring down waiting times, and improve patients flow through hospital and beyond. The Party of Wales will save and strengthen the services that we all depend on, and restore the reputation of the NHS in Wales.
And the party's health spokesperson Elin Jones said:
At present we have a system that is under severe pressure because of poor management and ineffective planning. Patients are being let down and doctors and nurses are being put under incredible pressure because of the UK Coalition Government’s cuts and Labour Welsh Government’s mismanagement. Plaid Cymru has the ideas to change that.
Labour is promising to train a thousand more NHS workers in Wales using money raised through a 'mansion tax' it would introduce if it forms the next UK Government. The party says it expects to raise £1.2 billion from imposing a tax on properties worth more than £2 million. Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith will launch the pledge later.
Training more frontline staff will be a huge boost for health services across Wales, but most importantly, will help relieve pressure in those areas that have seen demand for services hit record levels.
We are able to make this commitment thanks to a tax on some of the wealthiest people in the UK. A proper redistributive tax that takes money from those with the most, to invest in something that we all use and love - our NHS.
First Minister Carwyn Jones is welcoming the pledge.
This is a serious commitment to our NHS in Wales, only possible with the election of a Labour Government in May. We know that people in Wales cherish their NHS, and want to see a safe, modern and sustainable service guaranteed for the future. We need more trained healthcare professionals to make that happen.
The announcement follows an earlier pledge by Ed Miliband to spend the proceeds of any money raised through the tax along with a tobacco levy and a clamp down on tax avoidance on health in Wales.
But there's been criticism of the proposed tax by senior Labour figures Diane Abbot and Lord Mandelson who described it as 'crude.' It's also been revealed thatonly 87 properties in Wales would be affected by the mansion tax, prompting the Welsh Conservatives to describe it as 'an ill-thought out wealth tax which simply won't work.'
Just over half the people questioned in an ITV Cymru Wales poll are confident that the Welsh NHS will give them a high standard of healthcare when they need it. The gap between those who are confident and those who are not is now just 10%
The poll result suggests that a year of bad headlines has shaken confidence in the service. A similar poll in October 2013 found 72% confidence in the Welsh NHS. Satisfaction with the treatment people have actually received remains high, at 72%, though that's down from 82% in the previous poll.
The Welsh Health Minister has welcomed the overall result as a sign of continuing support for the NHS and the way that it's run in Wales.
This poll shows once again how people across Wales value and respect the approach we have taken in respect of the NHS, which does a remarkable job in providing excellent standards of care, free at the point of need for all people in Wales. Research continually shows people across Wales have confidence in their NHS.
The latest poll was also conducted in England, where there were higher levels of confidence in the NHS and satisfaction with the treatment that people had received.
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Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has closed a ward at Morriston Hospital in Swansea after a flu outbreak.
The Cyril Evans cardiothoracic surgery ward has one confirmed case of flu and 3 other cases of symptoms.
The health board says the ward cares for "vulnerable" patients who have had heart and lung surgery.
It is urging 'at-risk' patients and staff to get their flu jab.
Non-routine surgery has been postponed.
The board says it aims to reopen the ward and resume non-urgent surgery "as soon as possible".
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The number of people dying from diabetes-related conditions in Wales is falling, that's according to a new report published today by the Welsh Government.
Figures show the number of people dying from the condition fell from 420 in 2009, to 300 in 2013.
However the total cost to the Welsh NHS of providing care for the disease is more than half a billion pounds a year- a significant chunk of the overall six billion pounds health budget.
Health officials say this spending is essential to meet the demands of the increasing number of people with diabetes.
“As a country we are facing a huge increase in the number of people with diabetes. The reality is much of the increase is type 2 diabetes is due to the ageing population and more of us becoming overweight. This has serious implications for people’s health and the places further pressure on our NHS."
The report also found that people living in deprived parts of Wales are more likely to suffer, and that there are an estimated 66,000 people with type 2 diabetes who are undiagnosed.
Chief executive of the NHS Dr Andrew Goodall says these figures show there is still work to be done to make further improvements for the Welsh population.
“This will need to be a joint effort between the service in NHS Wales and the public. Obesity is the top risk factor for type 2 diabetes at all ages and 58% of all adults in Wales in 2013 are overweight or obese. This will need many of us to change our lifestyles if we are to tackle diabetes effectively in the future.”
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