New focus on preventing illness also at heart of Plaid’s Health AND Care service vision

Investment in the workforce, including parity of treatment for care staff will be a reality if Plaid Cymru it is elected to Government in May, Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has said.

Paying a “deep and heartfelt thanks” to health and care workers for their sacrifices during the pandemic, the Shadow Health Minister said things could not go back to “how they were before” and warned building back better had to mean that “lessons have been learnt”.

Speaking ahead of Plaid Cymru Spring Conference Mr ap Iorwerth said that to “truly get to grips” with historic long waiting times, pressures on the workforce, and backlog on diagnosis and treatments, the party would commit to building a “robust” and “resilient” national health and care service – embarking on the training and recruiting of 1,000 new doctors and 5,000 new nurses and other health professionals.

But Mr ap Iorwerth added that Plaid Cymru’s ambitions to “transform” health and social care for health and care staff and patients alike would include creating a ‘genuinely seamless’ National Health and Care Service - with free social care at the point of need and a pay rise for care workers. Youth welfare hubs would bring a new focus to mental health issues among young people.

He also pledged a focus like never before on preventative measures to make Wales a healthier nation.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“The past year has magnified problems that were already deeply felt within health and care with waiting times, already too long, now growing to even more alarming levels.

“If we are to truly get to grips with the chronic issues plaguing our NHS - long waitings lists, the pressure on health and care workers, the current backlog in treatment and diagnosis, and to ensure our NHS recovers from the pandemic then we have to build a more resilient and robust health and care service.

“This begins with building a more resilient workforce and to address chronic workforce issues, Plaid Cymru will get started on training and recruiting 1,000 additional doctors and 5,000 nurses and other health professionals.

“A genuinely seamless National Health AND Care Service will give care workers the respect they deserve, putting them on the same terms and conditions and pay scales as health workers alongside free social care at the point of need - a principle I’ve long aspired to, and I plan to deliver on it in Government.

“For young people, we will deliver better healthcare with a national network of youth welfare hubs, giving much needed support with mental health issues in particular - we’ll show we’re a caring nation for all ages.

“Our ambitions to transform health and social care are ambitions that reflect the needs and aspirations of the workforce and patients alike. We are intent on delivering a plan to make Wales more resilient and sustainable, focusing on the preventative and delivering on a healthier nation all around.”