“Astonishing” for Welsh Labour to “renege on commitment” to phase out reliance on private sector

Plaid Cymru has accused Welsh Labour Government of “privatisation of the NHS by stealth.”

In the Senedd today (Tuesday 10 January) Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS asked whether the First Minister would “distance” himself from “the position of the Labour Party in England, which is calling for the greater use of the private sector in the NHS - privatisation by proxy, essentially.

First Minister Mark Drakeford replied that he made “no apology for the fact that we will use facilities in the private sector here in Wales.”

Responding to these comments, Mr Price said it was “astonishing” that Welsh Labour opted not to distance itself from UK Labour on this matter. Labour Leader Keir Starmer recently unveiled a plan for the NHS that includes “a route for self-referral” to specialists rather than all patients going through GPs.

Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price MS said,

“Welsh Labour is reneging on its commitment to phase out reliance on the private sector. The First Minister is quick to reassure us that this is a short term measure to clear Covid-19 backlogs, but the truth is that waiting times exceeded targets long before the pandemic.

“By increasing reliance on the private sector, and failing to get to grips with an over-reliance on agency staff, this is privatisation of our NHS by stealth. It might be the thin end of the wedge of privatisation, but rather than distancing themselves from UK Labour, Welsh Labour have shown they’re happy to embrace the same language.”