'I'm certainly not walking away' Vaughan Gething responds to resignation calls

Wales' health minister has responded to calls for him to resign after he was caught making derogatory remarks about a fellow Labour colleague.

Vaughan Gething was taking part in the National Assembly's virtual plenary session when he appeared to forget to mute his microphone. He could be heard criticising Jenny Rathbone AM in front of his colleagues.

He since apologised for his remarks, but Plaid Cymru's leader Adam Price announced he has written to the First Minister saying it was "representative of the Health Minister's resistance to scrutiny".

Assembly members could be seen responding as the comments were made

While appearing on Wales at Six, Mr Gething said, "I've spoken to Jenny Rathbone and I have apologised directly to her. I have it made clear I am carrying on in my job.

"The idea that the best thing to save lives in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic is for me to walk off the field is not something serious people will see as a serious contribution.

"In these extraordinary times, we need to stand up to the pressure and the very real challenge we will face for months in the future. I'm certainly not walking away from my role."

During the interview, the health minister was asked about the announcement that testing was to be expanded for essential workers.

Following the announcement by England's health secretary Matt Hancock, the Welsh Government confirmed it will be piloting the same scheme this week.

Vaughan Gething had come under fire for abandoning Wales' testing targets. He told ITV News, "I ordered a review of our testing process and we published that report at the weekend indicating we aren't going to get to 5,000 tests a day this week.

England's health secretary announced testing will be expanded to all essential workers and their families

"I also indicated a range of improvements to the testing process. A number of extra referrals from social care are being put forward in larger numbers to be tested and on the ease of the process itself, we are trialling an online platform in Wales and we should have that fully up and running next week."He also said that if Wales' field hospitals are not used, "it is a sign of a success story.

"The social distancing measures we've introduced has meant coronavirus has not spread as fast as it should have - the demand we would've seen coming into our NHS has been less.

"But, as we look to move out of social distancing and lockdown we are going need to think about what that means for the future and the possibility we will continue to see more people coming into our health service with coronavirus.

"We're going to need more capacity for the future - we've more than doubled our critical care capacity.. and we are already seeing the most sick people coming through because of coronavirus but the scale hasn't been at our worst end of planning."

He said that field hospitals will be in place and ready to accept patients for "a number of months."

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