Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford has been accused of ‘contradictory statements’ after saying the cancelled operations in the Hywel Dda Health Board showed the system had proved ‘resilient’ because of the ‘plans of local health boards’ – despite Hywel Dda Health Board saying in an official release it was ‘unforeseen’.
Responding to a question on the cancelled operations in the Hywel Dda Health Board, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said that this week was “always the busiest week for unplanned admissions” to hospitals. He added that every year “it's entirely predictable” and therefore “planned for by that local health board”.
The Labour First Minister went on to say that the system had proved “resilient” to challenges “because of the plans that local health boards, supported by the Welsh Government”.
However, Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Helen Mary Jones AM said that this directly contradicted Hywel Dda Health Board’s original release and said the First Minister didn’t have a grasp on what was going on at the frontline of the NHS in Wales.
The Board's initial release said that it had “been an extraordinary weekend for our health service, with critical pressures being felt across all of our hospital A&E departments, GPs and our community services.” with hospitals at a “level of hospitals at a level of escalation not seen before”.
Furthermore, correspondence obtained between the Hywel Dda Community Health Council and the Hywel Dda University Health Board show that the CHC had not been notified of the situation in advance and had to find out “find out via national news bulletins”.
Plaid Cymru’s Mid and West AM Helen Mary Jones, Shadow Minister for Health and Social Caresaid,
“Winter happens every year but with no spare capacity in the Welsh NHS, every year performance gets worse under this Labour Welsh Government. Every year, we get a different excuse as to why this time the poor performance is ‘unprecedented’ or ‘extraordinary’. The excuses change, the deterioration in performance doesn’t.
“You only have to look at the First Minister’s contradictory statements in the Senedd yesterday to see how out of touch he is when it comes to what goes on at the frontline of the Welsh NHS.
“The truth is that our NHS doesn’t have the capacity to deal with winter pressures, it doesn’t have the management capable of planning for predictable winter pressures, and it doesn’t have a political leadership capable of changing this.
“That’s why Wales needs a new government. Plaid Cymru has put forward proposals to for a National Health and Care system for Wales which will begin to improve the health and care people receive if we elect a new Welsh Government in May 2021.”