Ann Clwyd is in contact with the First Minister and the Health Minister and has provided them with the information she has to hand. As Ann herself has stated, most of the information she has collated relates to England and the info relating to Wales is anonymised and absent of detail. Ann Clwyd was asked by the Prime Minister to look at NHS complaints in England – her remit did not extend to Wales.
Opposition members are fully aware that it would be constitutionally inappropriate for the Health Committee to interview backbench MPs on their views around devolved matters - just as we wouldn’t expect backbench AMs to be giving evidence to Select Committees in Parliament. Rather than trying to manufacture rows in this way, the opposition focus should be on using the committee’s time to make sure the NHS is delivering the best possible care for the whole of Wales.
Labour AMs have been criticised for blocking a committee's invitation to a Labour MP. Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones wanted the Health Committee to ask Ann Clwyd to give evidence on correspondence she's received from patients and their families in Wales setting out concerns about care in Welsh hospitals.
However, the move was blocked by Labour members of the Committee. Elin Jones said
It is outrageous that a Labour block vote has shut down the opportunity for the committee to scrutinise this work. Ann Clwyd has gained valuable information on the Welsh NHS from a patient perspective from the work that she has done.
This could have been an important opportunity to share her conclusions and would have allowed the committee to scrutinise her work in terms of the information that she has gathered from Welsh patients.
– Elin Jones AM, Plaid Cymru
Welsh Labour is about to issue a statement on the matter. However Plaid's criticism was echoed by Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of the committee:
The Labour Party is closing ranks and trying to shut down scrutiny of its disastrous handling of the Welsh NHS, which has seen dangerously high death rates, emergency and waiting time targets missed regularly and cancer medicines denied to patients.
This is a cynical attempt by Labour politicians to brush evidence about underperformance and failure in the Welsh NHS under the carpet.
– Darren Millar AM, Welsh Conservatives
The contrast in responses to Ann Clwyd’s harrowing story couldn’t be starker. While the UK Coalition asked her to lead an inquiry, the Welsh Labour Government, who were responsible for her husband’s care, instead stick their collective heads in the sand.
Sir Bruce Keogh, Chief Medical Officer for England, was alarmed at data shared with him by Ann Clwyd about the Welsh NHS. For the First Minister to say she has no facts at all is absurd. She has every right to voice her concerns about healthcare in Wales.
The First Minister's direct criticism of Ann Clwyd is as extraordinary as her response. Two senior Welsh Labour politicians are now publicly at odds over something important to the party (the NHS) and extremely sensitive (a painful personal experience of the NHS.)
Both reasons are why Labour politicians have been treading carefully with regard to the Cynon Valley MP's comments. That's changed. Welsh ministers are fighting back against sustained Westminster criticism and they see Ann Clwyd's campaign as part of the attack to be countered.
The risk for the Welsh Government is that the public may see attacks from Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron as clearly political, but in Ann Clwyd many see someone who's speaking up for patients after a painful experience. If that's the case, the First Minister's criticism could look merely personal.
The fact is that I have sent considerable information to the First Minister and to the Health Minister in the Welsh Assembly, and also to Welsh Assembly members - evidence of the widespread concerns about the performance of the NHS in Wales.
I have also met with Carwyn Jones and Mark Drakeford to further expand on those concerns.
In addition to statistical data, I also sent them a summary of the concerns contained in the hundreds of letters I have received from Welsh patients. Obviously the identity of those patients must always remain confidential, unless they give their express permission to release their names.
I am, however, upset by the irrelevant and casual reference to my husband's case in political and professional circles. My complaint on this issue is still under way and has not yet been resolved. Additionally my husband's case is, on its own, far less important than the hundreds of letters it has brought forward from those whose experience was apparently similar to mine.
I would far rather the Assembly concentrate on resolving the current crisis in the NHS in Wales than attacking me personally.
The Welsh Conservative Leader says the First Minister should hold talks with NHS campaigner Ann Clwyd rather than criticising her. Carwyn Jones dismissed the call from Andrew RT Davies because he said Ms Clwyd had produced 'no evidence' to support her concerns.
“Instead of condemning Ann Clwyd for speaking out, Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour should be listening carefully and acting on her fears.
Each and every time Mrs Clwyd has raised concerns – they have been proved correct.
I have asked the First Minister if he will work with me to facilitate joint discussions with Ann Clwyd – and, despite his response - I will continue to work towards this aim.
Case after case. Fault after fault. The deeply ingrained problems within Labour’s NHS are clear for all to see. 28,000 people – or a town the size of Pontypridd – had been waiting more than eight weeks for diagnostic services at the end of January. The First Minister’s shocking refusal to acknowledge this is a matter of great regret. Welsh communities deserve to see these problems being appropriately dealt with and cross-party discussions with Ann Clwyd can help achieve this.
The First Minister says fellow Labour politician Ann Clwyd 'has produced no evidence and no facts' to back concerns that she's repeatedly raised about the Welsh NHS. Carwyn Jones' criticism came during the Assembly's weekly First Minister's Questions.
He'd been challenged by the Opposition Leader Andrew RT Davies to respond to Ann Clwyd's concerns.