Thursday, 12 March 2015

Playing politics with the NHS

Our parties have different philosophies of managing public services (Liberal Democrats' devolved and collaborative, Labour's centralised and authoritarian), as exemplified by the coalition's structuring of the Welsh NHS in 2000/2001, and Labour's later reorganisation under Edwina Hart. It was therefore a brave and altruistic move by Kirsty Williams to call for the establishment of an all-party and non-party commission to secure a long-term plan for the future of the service, as long ago as last autumn. I would also praise Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething for their openness towards the concept, so that there seemed to be a real chance of the commission being set up.

However, for what appears to be electioneering expediency, for being able to use the Welsh NHS as a political football, first the Conservatives and then the Welsh Nationalists pulled out of the plan which the Welsh Government had agreed to in principle. As Kirsty wrote yesterday,

People are fed up of mud-slinging by politicians over the NHS, and this Commission would’ve taken some of the political heat out of the situation.

I’m disappointed, but I’ve not given up hope. For the good of our NHS we need politicians of all parties working together and putting patients first, not politics.

She has therefore started a petition to persuade the other parties to change their minds:

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