Labour Health Minister’s cash plans “plucked from thin air” claims Plaid leader

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has today accused Labour Health Minister Eluned Morgan of plucking her spending plans for the NHS “from thin air” amid a lack of clarity surrounding Health Board cuts.

Last week, Wales’s Health Minister warned that Health Boards would still be expected to make significant cuts, despite expenditure on Health being ringfenced as part of the Welsh Government’s most recent budget plans.

Speaking during today’s First Minister’s Questions, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS sought clarity on exactly how much each Health Board would be expected to save, and called for an explanation of how the Welsh Government intends to make savings on agency staff spend when it reached record levels of £325m last year.  

Leader of Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

“The record highs of vacancies and spend on agency staff point to a recruitment and retention crisis in our National Health Service.

“So when the Health Minister told the BBC last week that the Welsh Government will have to spend less on agency staff in order to make savings – something I have long called for – the lack of detail behind this statement is disappointing.

“Given the record levels spent on agency staff last year, Welsh Government must detail how they intend to buck this trend overnight, when all the evidence points to its failure to do so thus far. Otherwise we can’t be blamed for concluding that their plans for savings, cuts and efficiencies have been plucked from thin air.

“Today, the First Minister blamed Plaid Cymru for coming back ‘time and time again’ demanding that Welsh Government should take action on some – frankly – quite  fundamental issues. If Welsh Government got to grips with these issues, perhaps Plaid Cymru wouldn’t need to keep coming back asking for action on things that – had they been done earlier – they could have made a real difference. This is no more apparent than with the staffing crisis in our NHS right now.”