Health shake-up email row

Opposition parties table a vote of no-confidence in Health Minister Lesley Griffiths, following the publication of emails from an advisor to the author of a report into reforms to the Welsh NHS

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  1. Nick Powell

Minister 'appalled' by attack on professor

The Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has told AMs that she will not allow 'political posturing to block the path of good government'. She said that the opposition should be ashamed of the attack on herself and her officials and on Professor Marcus Longley.

The allegations are that my senior officials, a respected academic and I somehow conspired to deceive the Welsh public. These allegations are utterly without foundation and I am appalled at this attack. Dragging Professor Marcus Longley’s good name through the mud in this way is an unedifying spectacle. Professor Longley was commissioned by NHS Chief Executives, entirely independently of Welsh Government to produce a report that assessed the evidence for changing the configuration of health services in Wales.

– Health Minister Lesley Griffiths AM

The Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar, claimed that emails between officials and Professor Longley, released under the Freedom of Information Act, justified the allegations, despite Lesley Griffiths' insistance that she and her officials did not try to influence or change the report in any way.

Senior officials in your department were conniving with Professor Longley to produce a pre-determined report.

– Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM

Anyone who knows Professor Longley will appreciate what distinguishes him from some others is his independent thinking and integrity. To accuse him of 'conniving' with me and my officials is utterly reprehensible.

– Health Minister Lesley Griffiths AM

Earlier, the First Minister Carwyn Jones, who's a qualified barrister, said Darren Millar should take legal advice about making such allegations outside the Assembly chamber, where AMs are protected from the law of libel.

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