Plaid Cymru Government plans fair pay and 1000s of new recruits in a ‘transformed’ health and care service

Ahead of the expected publication of Welsh Government’s new NHS recovery plan, Plaid Cymru has renewed its pledge to recruit 1,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses and other health professionals. Saying the workforce has to be strengthened and better supported. They’re also calling for a real transformation of services, putting them on a more sustainable footing, and not just action to deal with the covid backlog.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth says that any plans that focus solely on ‘recovery from the pandemic’ overlook two decades of “managed decline”. 

Information published last week (Thursday 18 March) shows record highs for NHS Wales waiting lists, but Mr ap Iorwerth said that this masks problems that were already there and that waiting times for treatment and diagnostics were already too long before the pandemic. He said:

“Backlogs in surgery and diagnosis, a tired and understaffed workforce and missed targets – this was already the legacy of 20 years of Labour Health Ministers, before the pandemic struck. And they’ll only be repeated, unless our health and care system is completely transformed.

“Labour acknowledges these inequalities but does not accept the responsibility for this managed decline.

“Plaid Cymru will begin by training and recruiting 1,000 additional doctors and 5,000 nurses and other health workers taking pressure off the current workforce, and our seamless new 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. 

“Staff and patients will benefit. Our cancer plan will speed up diagnosis and treatment, young people will be supported with their mental health and wellbeing through a network of youth welfare hubs. And we’ll prioritise preventative measures like never before.

“We can’t go back to how things were. Our NHS has to be rebuilt in a way that makes it more robust than ever – a task Plaid Cymru will begin on day one of Government.”