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Sam Rowlands MS wants a time limit set for improvements in healthcare in North Wales

Sam Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has called on the Health Minister to set a date when healthcare problems will be fixed in North Wales.

Mr Rowlands is a harsh critic of the North Wales Health Board’s performance which this week marks one year since it was placed back in special measures.

Speaking in the Senedd, during a statement by the Minister for Health and Social Services: special measures at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board—one year on, he said:

“The recent Audit Wales Report made for a sobering read and it shows there’s still much to do. While there is a level of improvement, there’s much, much more to do be done to give the people I represent in North Wales the health service that they deserve.

“The report talks of fundamental challenges that still face the health board. There are references to substantive appointments, the need for a cohesive and unified board, the need to deal with personnel issues. This, to me, points to significant issues within the management structure that still haven’t been fully fixed. Granted, it does take time, but we are a year down the track.

“In amongst all of this, in the bigger picture of things, there are real people—patients, a stretched workforce, residents that I’m elected to represent. They’ve been waiting a long time for these issues to be fixed—not just this past year, but for years and years beforehand.”

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He called on the Minister, Eluned Morgan, for a date when residents would have the right level of access to healthcare in North Wales.

Mr Rowlands also expressed disappointment on Labour’s failure to back a Welsh Conservative motion, in the Senedd this week,  to ensure high-quality healthcare in North Wales.

Speaking during the debate, he said:

“The one issue that strikes me most at the moment is our emergency department, where just 83% of patients are being seen within a 12-hour waiting time target. That means that nearly 20% of people are having to wait more than 12 hours in our emergency department. That’s not a position that any of us wants to be in and our residents should not accept that, either.

It’s Labour’s underfunding that is causing people to suffer in North Wales. Two years ago, the Welsh Government set a target that no-one should wait eight weeks or more for a diagnostic test, which is a wonderful target and it is very, very important, but, as of November last year, a staggering 40 % of waits were longer than the eight-week target—47,000 people waiting longer than the target that’s in place.

“The point here is that I just don’t think Welsh Government completely gets it—the experiences that my residents are feeling, day in, day out, in North Wales. I think another highlight of this that shows this issue is the recent leadership debate that took place in Mold between Mr Gething and Mr Miles, as they were drumming up support from the Labour faithful up in Mold.

In that debate, there was not a single question about the NHS. From my understanding, actually, questions were filtered and not one question in that debate was about the NHS. So, when it comes to getting this issue and understanding what residents in North Wales are facing, to have not one question about the NHS, I think is something for the Labour Party to reflect on here in Wales.”