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Tories call for urgent response to Keogh email

The Conservatives are calling for an urgent response from the Welsh Government to the concerns about Welsh hospital death rates raised by English NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

The concerns raised in this email confirm our serious worries over standards of care in the NHS.Professor Keogh’s recommendation of ‘investigation’ into mortality rates should be immediately undertaken and no longer ignored. It is a matter of great regret that Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour appear to have dismissed the advice provided by this leading expert.For the sake of future generations - Welsh Conservatives have long called for a Keogh-style inquiry into NHS standards of care.I sincerely hope that this will now take place.

– Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies AM

Professor Keogh’s comments are further proof of extremely serious problems within the Welsh NHS.If this leading expert has offered assistance and raised concerns over a potential cover-up – he should not be ignored.I am staggered at reports that his correspondence has gone unanswered and I urge Labour’s First Minister to clarify these reports as soon as possible.

Mortality rates in Wales are of huge concern and I have long raised questions over recent misleading statistics. NHS Wales has suffered catastrophically from Labour’s record-breaking budget cuts. Queuing ambulances, bed blocking, rocketing waiting lists and missed response times continue to throw the service into crisis.A Keogh-style inquiry would address serious concerns and see structures put in place to protect communities.

– Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM

AMs join forces on neonatal plans

A Labour and a Conservative AM have joined forces to push for a intensive baby care centre to be based at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan. Ann Jones and Darren Millar have put aside political differences to welcome the First Minister's decision to develop a neonatal care centre in North Wales.

The intervention overturns plans by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board to send all seriously ill babies to Arrowe Park on the Wirral. Carwyn Jones says the new centre will treat the 'vast majority' of sick babies with the worst cases still treated in Cheshire.

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is one of two possible locations along with Wrexham's Maelor Hospital. A decision's expected early next year. Ann Jones and Darren Millar have issued this joint statement:

This announcement is very welcome indeed and we will now be working hard to ensure that the new enhanced Neonatal Intensive Care Centre is based at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

We feel it?makes sense for the Centre to be in Bodelwyddan given the excellent accommodation for families of sick babies provided by Ty Croeso Dawn Elizabeth House; the accessibility of the hospital from the A55; and its location in the? heart of North Wales.

Whilst the decision represents a victory for North Wales, the First Minister still needs to make a decision about the location of the centre – which could end up in either Bodelwyddan or Wrexham.

We feel that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is the perfect site and will be pressing for the First Minister to opt for this location.

– Ann Jones AM & Darren Millar AM


Neonatal care decision 'vindicates' campaign say Tories

The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed the First Minister's announcement of a neonatal care centre for North Wales. But they say it should be established as soon as possible.

Communities across north Wales deserve an end to their uncertainty and this report goes some way to achieving that.

It is now crucially important that each of its recommendations is implemented swiftly – and in full.

A cross-party campaign long warned that axing long-term neonatal care in the region was dangerous – a view supported by health professionals and clinicians. Today this campaign has been vindicated.

Communities have been left in limbo for far too long and a site for a new centralised centre for neonatal care must now be identified as soon as possible.

– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health MInister

Blood collection fall is 'evidence of NHS in chaos'

The Welsh Conservatives' Shadow Health Minister says the fall in blood collection by the Welsh Blood Service is another example of problems caused by underfunding of the NHS.

The Welsh Labour Government is ultimately responsible for the management of the NHS and that includes the Welsh Blood Service.

There is an old adage in life which says - ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ - yet here we see another example of Welsh Labour’s record breaking NHS cuts forcing unpopular changes in services and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds more than predicted.

These shocking figures are yet further evidence of our NHS in chaos under Welsh Labour.

– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health MInister

Labour A&E campaigners 'slapped down' say Tories

The Welsh Conservatives are describing Carwyn Jones' comments about a campaign group in support of A&E services at Llantrisant's Royal Glamorgan hospital as a 'slap-down' to Labour politicians involved. The party's Shadow Health Minister said:

This unprecedented slap down is more proof that the Labour Party is falling apart on the NHS.

Carwyn Jones has not only tightened the leash on his Education Minister, he’s strapped on a muzzle and forcibly caged him.

The campaign and its shroud-waving clearly show that Carwyn Jones’ government is in complete turmoil on NHS reform.

– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health MInister


Abandon A&E change plans say Tories

Plans to change hospital emergency departments in South Wales should be abandoned, according to the Welsh Conservatives. The party claims proposals due to be announced later this month will see the number of A&E departments in the region reduced.

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said,

With demand for our emergency services on the rise, any plans to downgrade up to half of A&E departments in South Wales are unacceptable and must be abandoned.

Whilst sensible service modernisation in the region is something that we can all support, foolish plans to strip away emergency services from local hospitals are the very last thing that patients in South Wales will be prepared to accept.

– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health MInister

Sceptical opposition welcome for ambulance cash

Opposition parties in the Assembly have reacted with scepticism to the Welsh Government's announcement of £9.5m investment to upgrade Wales' ambulance fleet. The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams called the spending 'a fig-leaf' to distract from Labour's 'poor record' with the service.

Of course the money is welcome, but it can’t be allowed to be a distraction from the bigger issues our ambulance service is facing.

This is a spinning technique that is often used by the Welsh Labour Government – they announce some money to make the headlines so that their failures aren’t discussed. This time the people of Wales won’t be duped by their smoke and mirror techniques. For too long, the handling of our ambulance service has been appalling.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader

Conservative Darren Millar, the Shadow Health Minister, echoed that saying that the service needs more ambulances, more paramedics and a greater role for the air ambulance. He said,

Throwing money at a problem without doing anything else won't make a blind bit of difference.

– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health MInister

Assembly Members will discuss the McLelland report into the problems facing the Ambulance service during a government debate in the Senedd this afternoon.

Minister showed 'disgraceful ignorance' claim Conservatives

The Welsh Conservatives have condemned the former Health Minister's decision to refer back objections to changes to hospital services in west Wales. They claim Lesley Griffiths effectively ignored the Community Health Council's concerns about the Hywel Dda Health Board's proposals.

This move is a disgraceful ignorance of ministerial accountability. It beggars belief that the views of a watchdog representing the public can be so blatantly disregarded. This is effectively bouncing the referral back to the watchdog and avoiding any responsibility. I hope the new health minister – whose appointment is welcome – will take a far more appropriate approach to an issue that affects many thousands of people.

– Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM

The old minister has done little more than pass the buck and it is no surprise that she has been shifted from her portfolio. Her refusal to stand accountable is a sad indictment of a Labour government completely out of touch with Pembrokeshire. I urge the new minister to review this decision and look very carefully at the health board’s unnecessary plans.”

– Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies

Political battle continues after no confidence vote

Labour have echoed Dafydd Elis Thomas' attack on his party, with one Welsh Government source claiming that Plaid Cymru have proved that they are happy to be stooges for the Tories. Meanwhile Plaid say that the political fallout over what they call hospital downgrading is far from over,

This is not about playing politics; it is about taking responsibility for important decisions that affect us all. Today, we invited the Health Minister to clear her name, but she failed to take that opportunity. It is clear from the correspondence that the Welsh Government, local health boards, and the NHS confederation each played a significant part in the drafting of the report on hospital reconfiguration, yet the Minister has denied this. The Health Minister is willing to take the credit for the opening of new services, but fails to take responsibility for the closure of old ones.

– Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson Elin Jones AM

The Welsh Conservatives have promised to maintain 'fierce opposition to the downgrading of district general hospitals' despite the government's 29-28 victory, defeating the vote of no confidence on the Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths.

The Minister’s performance today remains utterly unconvincing. Responses to many of the questions posed were completely contrary to the evidence provided. Serious questions persist on a number of significant issues and explanations on important matters relating to the report’s independence remain as clear as mud. It is disappointing that the joint motion has fallen in this way, despite continued cross-party concerns on the case for change report’s independence.

– Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM
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