Plaid Cymru have called for the establishment of a National Care Service as a ‘birthday present’ to the NHS as it marks its 70th anniversary today.
Dr Dai Lloyd AM’s proposal to establish a Care Commission to look at creating a National Care Service was recently passed by Plaid Cymru National Council.
Speaking on the 70th anniversary of the NHS, Dr Dai Lloyd AM and Plaid Cymru spokesperson for social care said,
‘Care is care, regardless of whether need is health or social. Plaid Cymru has long stated that social care should be free at the point of need and funded from general taxation, in the same way that the NHS is funded.
Social care is in a similar situation to what the health service was before the NHS. During the 1930s and 40s patients often had to pay for their care from private providers whilst others were fortunate enough to receive free care from charities.
It has been clear for quite some time that the way in which social care is being delivered and funded in Wales is unfair, and can place a significant financial burden on those families who need it.
The NHS was established through political will. Social Care needs to be given parity of esteem with Health, and this is why Plaid Cymru has established its own Care Commission tasked with looking at setting up a National Care Service for Wales – the very first of its kind.
The Association of Directors of Social Services have stated that social care needs to be both a higher political and funding priority in Wales, and Plaid Cymru is committed to doing just that.
We have received the Welsh Government's response in their long term strategy 'Healthier Wales: our Health and Social Care Plan' - which is extremely disappointing in many aspects, no radical big change and more of the same.
We want to set a clear vision for Social Care in Wales that would be radical, nationally led, and delievered across Wales to tackle the pressures on our social services in Wales.”
On the 70th anniversary of the NHS Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru’s shadow health secretary said,
“The NHS 70th birthday is an opportunity to celebrate one of the most important institutions we have here in Wales. I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all the NHS staff—hundreds of thousands of them over 70 years who have made the NHS what it is.
Any birthday is a time for reflection; the 70-year anniversary is a time to reflect on the feat in itself that we still have an NHS that has lasted this long. It's a fantastic achievement in itself. There are those on the right of politics who still question the sustainability of the NHS and think that privatisation is the way forward and raise fears of an onslaught of people seeking free prescriptions and so on.
I'm confident that we'll be looking back at 140 years, when 70 years has gone by again, and I'm sure the same questions about sustainability will be asked then. The key thing is that all of us have to be clear that that sustainability is a priority, a priority for us in all that we do.”