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Minister and top doctor deny wrongdoing over NHS report

The Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, and the Welsh NHS Medical Director, Dr Chris Jones, have both strongly denied doing anything wrong in their handling of Professor Marcus Longley's report on the future of the health service. They were being questioned by the Assembly's health committee.

The Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar, pressed Dr Jones over his email to Professor Longley about an emergency response service in Scotland. Dr Jones called it 'a positive new service that needs to go in'. It appeared in the final draft but Dr Jones denied influencing the report's contents.

None of that is true. As a doctor, the last few days have been quite painful because I have had to hear a lot of statements made in public about conniving, conspiracy, some sort of immoral behaviour, seeking to mislead the public. Now as a doctor, that's accusing me of serious professional misconduct and that is very difficult for me. It's worse also because the comments made have been absolutely untrue and there seems to be no reason to think that they may be true.

– Welsh NHS Medical Director Dr Chris Jones

So when you said 'this is a positive new service that needs to go in', you weren't seeking to influence the report?

– Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM

I was telling Professor Longley that ... it needed to be part of the future arrangements of NHS Wales. Professor Longley would not have know that unless I had told him.

– Welsh NHS Medical Director Dr Chris Jones

The Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, will face a vote of no confidence in the Assembly this afternoon over her officials' actions. She told the committee that although she knew that Professor Longley would ask her officials for information, 'the report was Professor Longley's independent view'.