First Minister Carwyn Jones has condemned the UK Health Secretary's plan to reduce the NHS's reliance on foreign doctors. Despite the current shortage, Jeremy Hunt is due to tell the Conservative party conference this afternoon that by training more doctors in Britain, it will be possible to recruit fewer from overseas.
The Tories have said today that foreign doctors and NHS staff are only welcome here whilst they are needed. I say they are welcome – full stop. We are talking about valued members of our communities, and they are valued staff in our NHS. More than that, they’re real people with real families. Talking about them as though they are some sort of commodity is in an insult to them, and the brilliant work they do every day in our NHS.
In remarks ahead of his speech, Mr Hunt suggested that there would be less need to recruit EU doctors in future. He also questioned the morality of bringing in doctors from developing countries.
Currently a quarter of our doctors come from overseas. They do a fantastic job and we have been clear that we want EU nationals who are already here to be able to stay post-Brexit.
But is it right to import doctors from poorer countries that need them whilst turning away bright home graduates desperate to study medicine?
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There's been a swift rebuff from the Welsh Government for a call to give Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies the chair of a committee advising the Welsh Government on Brexit.
The chair of Vote Leave in Wales, the former Welsh Secretary David Jones had suggested that as Carwyn Jones proved to be out of touch with Welsh opinion on leaving the European Union, the First Minister should turn to Mr Davies for advice.
The proposal produced an unusually swift -and blunt- rejection by the Welsh Government.
We don’t see any merit in this idea. The Welsh Government will work through the consequences of the vote in good faith in the interests of the people of Wales. The National Assembly for Wales is in the process of seeing up a new, more open and transparent Committee structure and the consequences of the Brexit vote will no doubt feature heavily on upcoming agendas.
Former Welsh Secretary David Jones, who led the Vote Leave campaign in Wales, says Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood should both support making Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies the chair of a committee in charge of shaping Wales' response to the Brexit vote.
The result of the referendum highlighted just how out of step the First Minister and Leader of the opposition were with the people they represent on this issue.
That’s why I would urge the First Minister to be gracious in defeat, and establish an advisory committee of AMs to drive forward Wales’ response to the referendum result.
Andrew RT Davies could potentially be an ideal candidate to chair such a committee, having taking the brave step of backing the campaign to leave the EU, and I’m sure that he would have the support of other leave campaigners here in Wales – including those in UKIP who also played such an influential role in the campaign.
David Jones says Mr Davies could complement "rather than seeking to usurp" the role of the Welsh Government. Meanwhile the First Minister has demanded assurances that the Leave campaign's promise to safeguard aid to Wales will be kept.
One of the most immediate concerns facing us as a government is the future of around half a billion pounds a year which Wales currently receives from the EU to support our farming industry and to bring greater prosperity to some of our most deprived communities.
During the referendum campaign, the Leave side made cast iron promises that this money would continue to come to Wales in the event of a vote to leave the EU. I have today written to the Prime Minister asking him to confirm that every penny of this funding is safe.
We require this funding assurance immediately, as there are hundreds of vital EU-funded projects right across Wales whose future is now in the balance unless that funding guarantee is given. Let me be absolutely clear. These projects are designed to improve people’s lives, their environment and the infrastructure they rely on every day, and we are proud of what they have already delivered. But if that pledge is not honoured by the UK Government, it will have a devastating effect on our budgets, already stretched through years of austerity, and facing billions more in cuts as a result. It will make the difficult decisions we already face even harder. So it is critical there is a positive response to my letter, and I will make it public as soon as receive it.
The First Minister said that the Wel;sh Government would base a team of civil servants in Brussels to explore independently of the UK Government how Welsh priorities can be taken forward directly with the EU. He said he also expected Welsh Government participation in the UK Government’s Brexit negotiations.
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First Minister Carwyn Jones has dismissed the promises of Conservative ministers who've pledged not to cut aid to the poorest parts of Wales, saying that they have "no more power to deliver ... than my children's pet cat".
He was speaking in the Senedd after the pro-EU Conservative David Melding claimed that the pro-Leave camp were offering to protect everything that receives European grants and then spend the same "magic money" on the NHS as well.
We have no certainty if we choose to leave next Thursday -to jump off a cliff. Those who signed this letter have no more power to deliver on it than my children's pet cat.
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