Trade unions representing around 400,000 workers across Wales have today condemned political attacks aimed at the Welsh NHS and called on the Prime Minister to apologise for describing Offa's Dyke as a 'line between life and death'.
In a public statement, marking the 66th anniversary of the NHS, unions are warning that political attacks have already damaged morale within the service and risk 'driving a wedge between patients and staff.'
Wales TUC unions within the health service represent thousands of NHS Wales workers ranging from nurses, paramedics and consultants to porters and physiotherapists.
Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said:
"Today we should feel proud that the NHS was made in Wales, proud of the advances made and doubly proud of our committed and talented health workforce. We know that, despite political attacks from UK politicians, NHS workers have the support of the Welsh public.
"Of course there are challenges and resources are stretched, but our members see the reality of an excellent service striving to be even better in the wards, surgeries and clinics right across Wales. It is time that their voice is heard."
A Downing St spokesman said:
“The PM has set out his view on how the NHS is run in Wales and he stands by that.”
The Welsh Government has responded to a warning from the British Medical Association that the NHS here faces a "stark future", insisting that there are no proposals to cut consultants' pay in Wales.
We have received the pay review body’s recommendation and are working with representatives from professional bodies and trades unions about how an equivalent sum to that being made available in England can be distributed to NHS staff in Wales.
There are no proposals to cut consultants’ pay. We share BMA Wales’ aim of continuing to improve healthcare, but regret it has been unable to come to the table to negotiate with NHS Employers in Wales about the reform of terms and conditions in the Welsh consultants’ contract.
In the absence of Welsh discussions, which we would very much have preferred, we are now considering how we can ensure that comparable opportunities are available to consultants in Wales as to their colleagues in England.
When it comes to spending on health the BMA has got its figures wrong. Wales actually spends £42 more per head of population on health than England.
Doctors group the British Medical Association has issued a severe warning, saying the NHS in Wales is "facing a very stark future that threatens to scar our nation."
BMA Welsh council chairman Dr Philip Banfield was speaking at the trade union's annual conference in Harrogate.
He said that the Welsh Government plans to cut the salaries of consultants which could mean that they will earn 5 per cent less than their counterparts in the UK, and warned the move "will worsen the continuing recruitment crisis in Wales."
The BMA received over 450 unsolicited emails and letters working in Wales, expressing their dismay at the proposal.
Dr Banfield said: "Financial targets still take precedence over clinical priorities, our doctors, nurses and other front-line clinical staff have morale at an all-time low, stress at an all-time high – and this, as we have seen, is when mistakes happen and patients die unnecessarily."
Police have confirmed two people have been arrested after an elderly woman suffered a 'serious and unexplained' injury in hospital and later died.
Tegwen Roderick, 88, died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil on June 4 after suffering an "unexplained and serious injury" at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, Mountain Ash, at the end of May .
A 52-year-old woman was arrested on Friday on suspicion of assault and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
A 64-year-old man was arrested today on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Both have been bailed.
10 employees at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon were suspended initially.
Six of the ten staff suspended as part of the investigation into the death of a elderly woman in hospital have had their suspensions lifted, the health board says.
Cwm Taf University Health Board's chief executive Allison Williams said arrangements are being made for those six to return to work.
In investigations such as this, staff may be suspended as a precautionary measure. As is normal practice in any investigation such suspensions are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
We can confirm that six suspensions have already been lifted today and arrangements are being made for those staff to return to work. We will continue to review the remaining suspensions as the investigation proceeds.
South Wales Police says its investigation into the circumstance surrounding Tegwen Roderick's death is ongoing and a postmortem is being carried out.
A police spokesman said she suffered 'serious injuries' which are currently 'unexplained.' He added: "At this stage there is no confirmed link between the injuries and her death"
Four people are assisting officers with their enquiries.
Allison Williams, chief executive of Cwm Taf University Health Board, says she recognises there is public concern over the ongoing investigation. She says the health board will work with police to "get to the bottom of what happened."
Cwm Taf University Health Board takes the care and safety of its patients extremely seriously. As soon as staff identified that there was a problem with the patient concerned, they acted quickly and appropriately. We are continuing to work with the police to do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened.
We would like to emphasise that there is no suggestion that any other patients have been affected.
She added that anyone with concerns about the care of their relatives are encouraged to talk to ward staff who can arrange for them to speak with a senior member of the health board.
Cwm Taf Community Health Council says it welcomes the health board's 'prompt action.' Dr Paul Worthington, the council's chief officer, said he has spoken to the health board and been reassured that the delivery of services was unaffected.
We are aware of the fact that an unexplained injury was sustained by a patient at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. This is clearly a very serious issue and our thoughts and sincere condolences go to the family at this very sad time.
We welcome the prompt action by the health board in initiating the multi-agency review process to consider what happened. This swift response was both right and essential.
We are aware that staff are being interviewed as part of the ongoing process of investigation into the incident, and it would not be appropriate to comment in detail until that investigation is completed.
An elderly woman, who died after sustaining an 'unexplained and serious injury' in hospital, has been named locally as Tegwen Roderick.
The 88 year old, from Abercanaid in Merthyr Tydfil, died at the town's Prince Charles Hospital yesterday.
Ten members of staff have since been suspended and police are investigating.
Ten members of staff have been suspended after the death of an elderly woman.
The 88-year-old woman died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil today after suffering an "unexplained and serious injury" at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon in Mountain Ash last Thursday.
Cwm Taf University Health Board say the staff were on duty the night before and the morning after the injuries were sustained. It added the suspensions are a "precautionary measure".
South Wales Police say they are investigating and four people are assisting officers with their enquiries.
A spokesperson for Cwm Taf University Health Board said:
'On Thursday morning, as part of routine patient care, a patient at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon was identified as having an unexplained injury.
'Appropriate arrangements were made for transfer to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. As is always the case in such a situation, the Health Board initiated a multi-agency strategy meeting to be held to consider the circumstances. This took place the following day.
'Staff on duty at the time are in the process of being interviewed to assist the investigation and the family have been kept fully informed of the situation.'
The health board added it has not made any link between the patient's injuries and her death.
A post-mortem is due to take place tomorrow.